Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday targeted the Opposition for misleading farmers on the new farm laws and said Congress leaders were “uncomfortable” as the BJP-led government at the Centre has implemented what they could not do over the past several decades.
“(Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi had written in the past to all Congress chief ministers that farmers must be allowed to sell their produce in the free market and freed from the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC). We brought this amendment, so then why are you opposing (it)?” Rupani said. The Congress, he added, made the same promise in the party’s 2019 election manifesto as well.
Targeting other opposition leaders, he said, “Sharad Pawar (NCP), Yogendra Yadav (Swaraj India), Mulayam Singh (SP), are opposing it (the new farm legislations), but in the past, they had pushed for such laws. But it was our government that brought these laws to effect. They (the Opposition) are out to mislead farmers. I believe the Opposition’s pain point is that they could not do what the BJP managed,” he said.
Rupani was addressing a Kisan Sammelan at Karamsad in Anand district as part of the BJP’s campaign to create awareness about the contentious farm sector reforms. Farmers from states like Punjab and Haryana are camping near Delhi’s border for more than three weeks now to protest against the new farm laws which they fear will prompt the government to stop making direct crop purchases at minimum support price (MSP).
The Gujarat CM claimed the Modi government has provided better MSP to farmers as compared to that provided by the Congress-led government in the Centre. “Let me tell you how much the MSP has increased under Narendra Modi’s government. The Congress was giving MSP on cereals at Rs 1,310 per quintal. Narendra Modi’s government gave MSP at 1,870 per quintal. Congress gave MSP of Rs 1,520 per quintal for jowar, Modi government gave MSP of Rs 2,440 per quintal. Congress gave MSP of Rs 2,950 on red lentils, Modi government is giving Rs 5,100 per quintal. The earlier (UPA) government bought 7,000 lakh quintals of agricultural produce at MSP. Our government, in the last five years, has bought 3,000 lakh quintals at MSP,” he said. He also took a dig at Pawar, the then Union agriculture minister, while referring to the 2007 wheat import scam.
“It is Congress’s sin to restrict farmers to the mandis and it is in a bid to sudharo (amend/ fix) this sin that farmers will be ‘freed’. It does not mean that APMCs will close. Instead, the central and Gujarat government are spending crores to modernise APMCs with computerised systems. Nowhere is it written in the (three new) legislations that APMCs will be shut or MSP stopped,” he added.
Rupani said, “What should have been done 25-30 years ago, was not done and today when Narendrabhai has done it, they are uncomfortable. The new government has now been in power for the past one and half years and in this period, promises made to the people have been fulfilled. Be it Ram temple (in Ayodhya), abrogation of Article 370, Citizenship Amendment Act, criminalising triple talaq, farmers getting the right price, and affordable healthcare through Ayushman Bharat, all (the promises) have been rapidly implemented and that is what bothers the Congress.”
“…BJP believes, khedut sukhi toh kheti sukhi, kheti sukhi toh gamdu sukhi, gamdu sukhi toh paiso sheher mein aavano chhe, toh rajya ma samruddhi thavani chhe (if farmers are prosperous, they will make farmlands prosperous, which in turn will churn money to the cities and make the state prosperous. Our government is farmers’ government, the government of the poor and oppressed,” he said.
“The government is open-minded that if there is an issue for the betterment of farmers that requires it to be amended, we will absolutely accept it. .. They are not talking except for only demanding a repeal of the laws,” he said.
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