Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Chandigarh, Dec 25
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made another attempt to reach out to the protesting farmers on the three agricultural laws even as he accused the Opposition of misleading the farmers for petty political gains.
Interacting virtually with farmers from across the country while transferring Rs 18,000 crore into the accounts of around nine crore farmers under the PM-Kisan scheme, he said, “The government is always open to talks, but the discussions must be based on facts.”
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint forum of farmers’ organisations protesting at the Delhi borders, said it would meet on Saturday to take a call on the offer. It said instead of interacting with a handful of farmers through video-conferencing, the PM should have visited Singhu or Tikri borders to address the farmers and resolve their issues.
“The PM today said rumours are being spread on MSP and farmers are being misled. Why can’t the government come out with an ordinance to make MSP a legal right?” asked Harinder Singh Lakhowal, BKU (Lakhowal) general secretary.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, appealed to the farmers to try the new laws as an “experiment” for a year or two and in case these were not found beneficial, the government would bring in all necessary amendments.
Describing the protesting farmers as his own people, Rajnath said, “Those sitting on dharna are farmers and are born to farmers’ families. We have a lot of respect for them.”
Slamming the Opposition, especially the Congress, Trinamool and the Left, the PM alleged those rejected by the people were doing event management at the protest sites for political survival. “They are misleading the farmers by not allowing dialogue to take place. They are adding more issues to their original demand of MSP—the release of those jailed for violence, toll taxes, etc,” he said.
Acknowledging that some innocent farmers too were part of the agitation, he said the laws were needed even the more as 80 per cent farmers in the country were marginal.