The ongoing farmer protests echoed in the Central Hall of the Parliament Friday with AAP MPs Sanjay Singh and Bhagwant Mann raising slogans against the three agricultural laws in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event to commemorate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“Kisan virodhi kaala kanoon wapas lo, MSP ki guarantee do, Pradhan Mantri ji annadata mar raha hai sir (repeal the ant-farmer black laws, provide MSP guarantee… farmers are dying),” the two leaders shouted as Modi was about to leave the venue after releasing a book on the former PM.
“Despite not having numbers in the Rajya Sabha, they got the farm bills cleared through voice vote. We had protested even then. Our point is why show such urgency to get laws cleared during a lockdown? They are just trying to favour their friendly corporates. You have not spoken to the farmers in over 25 days, instead (you are) using force on them, attempting to stop them. You turn everything into an event. So we took this step. And we protested only after paying tributes to the former PM as well as Madan Mohan Malviya,” Singh told The Indian Express.
While Singh is a Rajya Sabha member, Mann represents Punjab’s Sangrur constituency in the Lok Sabha. They also held up posters against the laws while raising the slogans.
Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad were interacting with Modi around that time.
At a press conference later, Mann said, “The PM does not address press conferences, Parliament sessions are not held, there is only one-way communication, via radio or over the internet. There is no way to meet him. He even meets farmers of his own choice in Gujarat while people protest barely 20 kilometres away from his residence.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “BJP claims these laws will not harm the farmers but where are the benefits? They say farmers will now be able to sell their produce outside mandis. But sales outside mandis do not yield even half the price as compared to mandis. How is this a benefit?”
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