Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 15
Amid intensifying resistance to the three Central Farm Acts, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on met farmer leaders from different states, including Telangana, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Bihar, who not only supported the legislations — calling them pro-farmer and urging the government to not repeal them, but also termed the “agitation by Punjab farmers politically motivated”.
Tomar later said members of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee called the “laws completely in favour of farmers and urged that they should not be taken back at any cost. They also said the protests by Punjab farmers are completely politically motivated”. He said “intention and policy of the government is clear and farmers are already benefiting from pro-farmer reforms which will help in increasing the income of farmers. The Government is always ready to engage in dialogue”.
While farmer unions from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and other parts are supporting, the movement is facing some issues. Apart from allegations of “Khalistan, Ultra-Left and pro-Left Wing extremist elements “hijacking the farmers’ movement” — charges that unions and ‘jathebandis’ reject vehemently), some are also pointing towards “symbols and undertones of a particular religion overtaking protest sites”. ‘Jathebandi’ leaders hit back saying “BJP’s mindset is such it cannot understand secular issues”.
Now that it is almost clear that laws will not be repealed, it is also becoming increasingly evident that the government is fighting back constructing evidence in favour of the laws through the same section that is opposing the laws.
This is not the first time favourable unions have extended support on the three laws. Earlier, unions from Haryana called on Tomar, threatening to protest if the pro-farmer laws are repealed.
An official statement said farmers’ representatives expressed “gratitude to the government for enacting the Acts and urged it to give in to the demands of agitating farmers”, rather “educate” them on their benefits through advertisements and training programmes.
“They will benefit farmers across India and save them from the clutches of middlemen who exploited them for years. They said the laws will give them freedom of choice in sale and purchase and allow barrier-free trade and commerce outside the APMC. They will enable farmers to access modern technology, better seeds and inputs, besides attracting private investment into the agriculture sector,” it said quoting farmers.
The 7,000 NGOs under the umbrella of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee will all rise up to support the Acts, it added.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and union ministers from Punjab, Hardeep Puri and Som Prakash, also held meetings on the issue. Reaching out to farmers, Rajnath Singh also said the government is always willing to listen to farmers and open for dialogue. However, so far there is no breakthrough regarding the next meeting between the government and warring factions.
BJP leaders said “people across the country have given their verdict in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and decisions of his government”. Citing recent wins, party spokesperson Sambit Patra said BJP’s spate of victories in elections across the country would not have been possible without the “help of farmers and the poor”. Slamming Opposition — Congress and AAP, for “their duplicity and misleading farmers”, he said the BJP will dismantle their claim scientifically.