Congress welcomes withdrawal of farm laws but questions Centre’s move to pass repeal bill without discussion
Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said that his party welcomed the Union government’s move to repeal the three farm laws but expressed displeasure over the absence of debate in the house before passing the bill.
The Centre passed The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, in both houses of Parliament on the first day of the Winter Session amid the protests and sloganeering by the Opposition demanding a debate. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar tabled the bill in both houses. However, the opposition parties, including Congress, had demanded a discussion around the bill.
“We welcome withdrawal of the three farm laws. We demanded a discussion on several incidents that took place during agitation including the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and the electricity bill. Farmers are still present at the protest site,” news agency ANI quoted Kharge as saying.
Further, he also said that by passing the bills in a haste in Lok Sabha, the government intended to prove that they were in “favour” of the protesting farmers. “We want that there should be a discussion on the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021. But with the passing of this Bill in Lok Sabha in a haste, they (govt) just want to prove that they are in the favour of farmers,” he said. “Government is wrong in saying that there is never a discussion on Repeal Bills, therefore it will not allow discussion on Repeal of Farm Laws Bill,” he added.
Meanwhile, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called the passage of bills “Mann Ki Baat” in reference to the lack of discussion before it. “The government blames us for not letting the House function. But Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021 was introduced and passed without discussion. Opposition had demanded a discussion on it. Even though the government has repealed the farm laws, its 'Mann ki Baat' is something else,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Congress party, led by its interim president Sonia Gandhi protested at the Parliament house against the Centre demanding the repeal of the farm laws.
Another opposition party, the Trinamool Congress, too protested at Parliament house demanding a discussion on the repeal bill and alleged that the Centre was “afraid” to discuss. “TMC wanted to have a discussion on the Farm Laws Repeal Bill but the government is afraid to discuss the conditions of the farmers. Government is not giving Opposition a chance to speak on behalf of the farmers,” TMC minister Kalyan Banerjee said.