Farmers protesting in Amritsar.(HT_PRINT)
Farmers protesting in Amritsar.(HT_PRINT)

'Heed public opinion': Chidambaram hits out at Centre over farmers' protests

  • "The farmers are determined, the government is stubborn, '' said Chidambaram on the micro-blogging site.
By | Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2021 10:38 AM IST

Senior Congress leader P Chidamabaram on Friday lashed out at the Centre saying that it is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic in its favour to change the narrative over the ongoing farmers' agitation at the Delhi borders. "The new spin is 'prolonging the agitation in the midst of a pandemic is unconscionable,'" Chidambaram wrote on Twitter.

"The obvious counter is 'prolonging the controversial farm laws in the midst of a pandemic is unconscionable,'" he added.

Calling on the government to scrap the three contentious farm laws, Chidambaram said, "If the government is a servant of the people, it should heed public opinion... and begin fresh consultations."

"The farmers are determined, the government is stubborn, '' he also wrote on the micro-blogging site.

The farmers mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have camped on major national highways for six months now, demanding a repeal of the laws. The protests continued as the second wave of Covid-19 raged in the country and the daily numbers rose at unprecedented levels.

During the rise in Covid-19 cases, several government leaders appealed to farmers to call off their mass protests over fears that it may emerge as a viral "super-spreader" event.

However, agitating farmers said that the new agricultural laws make farmer livelihoods vulnerable to corporate agri-businesses is itself a life and death matter, and continued with their sit-ins.

On May 26, farmers observed a "black day" to mark six months of the agitation. They are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The laws open up the agriculture sector to private players and have been hailed by the government as "historic" and long-needed reforms. However, the farmers fear that the legislation will end the mandi system where they are assured of the minimum support price for their produce.

However, protesting farmers say that it will open up the vast agriculture sector to a big corporation and would leave them at the mercy of them without any legal guarantee.

The Centre has held several rounds of talks with farmers' representatives but so far they have failed to be fruitful.

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