Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday welcomed the Narendra Modi government’s decision to withdraw the three contentious farm laws but said it would have been better if it had been done earlier as many lives were lost during the dharnas by the farmers.
Talking to mediapersons, Azad said, “How much better it would have been that this was done when there had been discussions in Parliament on these bills and also in its subsequent three-four sessions, there had been dharnas and walkouts over the issue.”
All political parties were on one side demanding the government to withdraw the laws, he said, adding that he too as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha had then said that “we make laws for the people and if they do not want this law then what is the purpose of enacting this legislation?”
“If they had taken this decision earlier, it would have not only maintained the respect and dignity of Parliament but also saved a large number of people, including the aged, youth, women and children from the hardships they faced during the period,” he said, adding, “I welcome the decision but with a heavy heart.”
To a question that like the farm laws, why do the political parties not compel the government to withdraw its decision on Article 370 and 35A, Azad said that one has to go by the will of the people in democracy and moreover, there was no controversy over the Farm Bills. “There may be a number of bills on which some people may agree while others will be against them. This is bound to happen in a democracy but these particular bills (farm laws) were the ones that nobody was in favour of and everybody was opposed,” he said, adding, everybody, irrespective of religion, region and sections of society wanted the bills to be withdrawn and repealed.
The Congress leader said it is obvious that only elections have played a role in the government’s decision but the good thing is that it has ultimately accepted to withdraw the laws.
He added that since the government has decided to repeal the farm laws, the government should talk to the farmers to accommodate their demands or remove their misgivings. “If the government has decided to withdraw them then it should withdraw them with a clear hearing,” he added.
Meanwhile, Azad did not see “anything big” in his removal from the Congress disciplinary committee. Pointing out that he had been a member of the committee for five years during Rajiv Gandhi’s time and also for about a decade in the present one, he said it meets only once a year or two. “I don’t remember when the last disciplinary committee meeting was held,” he added.
When asked whether decisions in the party were not being taken in a democratic way, he said that there are some issues within the party and these need not be discussed through the media and in public.