‘Source of black money blocked’: PM shreds Opposition on farm law protests
They are insulting farmers by setting fire to the very equipment he worships, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, launching a full-blooded defence of the farm laws and hitting out at the opposition a day after members of the Punjab unit of Youth Congress set a tractor on fire at Rajpath near the India Gate lawns in the heart of Delhi.
Big farmers’ groups, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, are continuing to protest the new laws, fearing deregulation will leave them vulnerable to powerful corporate agribusinesses and in an even weaker negotiating position than before. The reforms have cost the Bharatiya Janata Party one of its oldest allies, the Shiromani Akali Dal, which has quit the ruling alliance.
PM Modi accused the opposition of being against the independence of farmers, noting that it has become a habit of these people to oppose everything that is happening for the country. It is the only way they can practise their politics, said the PM.
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“A few days ago with the new laws, the country has freed its farmers from many shackles. Now the farmer can sell his produce to anyone, anywhere. But today, even when the central government is giving the farmers their rights, these people have come down to protest and are opposing the independence of the farmer. These people are now humiliating the farmers by setting fire to the goods and equipment that the farmer worships,” said the PM while launching six mega projects in Uttarakhand through video conferencing.
The government’s new farm laws have become contentious for two reasons: one, they do not guarantee acquisition of farm produce at the minimum support price (at least, not in letter); and two, the manner in which they were pushed through, by a dubious voice vote, ignoring calls for parliamentary oversight, even voting.
The Opposition parties are protesting, the PM said, as “another means for earning black money has been blocked”, by implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission - with farmers getting the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops and doing away with middlemen.
“A party whose four generations of a family ruled the country, today wants to prove their selfishness by climbing on the shoulders of others, opposing all initiatives related to the national interest,” he said.
PM Modi said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has seen a boom in Digital India campaign, “with even the poor using Jan Dhan bank accounts, using RuPay card and making digital transactions”.
“When our government started this work, these people were opposing it and have always opposed the opening of the bank account of the poor of the country,” he said
Spotlighting another instance, the PM raised the issue of protests by Opposition parties against Good and Services Tax and against the central government’s initiatives like One Rank One Pension scheme.
“Since the implementation of One Rank-One Pension, the government has given about ₹11,000 crore as arrears to ex-servicemen. Here in Uttarakhand, more than one lakh ex-servicemen have benefited from this. But these people (opposition parties) were always against the introduction of One Rank One Pension,” said Modi.
The PM said that the Opposition parties even protested against introduction of Rafale Jets into the Indian Air Force, which has been done to strengthen the security forces.
“Four years ago, our jawans carried out the surgical strikes and destroyed the bases of terror. But instead of praising the courage of our security personnel, the Opposition was asking for evidence of surgical strikes. It has become a habit of these people to oppose everything that is happening for the country. The only way of politics they know now is opposition,” added the Prime Minister.