Starting Friday, BJP MPs and MLAs will visit farmers in villages across the state over the next two weeks to explain to them the new farm laws passed recently by the Parliament. The campaign will be spread across Vidarbha, Marathwada, north and western Maharashtra as well as Konkan region.
The BJP’s farmers’ outreach comes after the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, in the wake of largescale protests by farmer outfits across India, said the laws won’t be enforced without consultations.
Not only will the state BJP hold personal interactions with farmers, it also plans to dig deeper into the three ruling allies adopting varied stances during the debate on farm Bills in the Parliament.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, has urged the party to study NCP president Sharad Pawar’s take on the farm laws.
“Pawar’s day-long fast (over the farm Bills) was a protest against the suspension of members from the Rajya Sabha (over their protest regarding the passage of the Bills). It was not for the passage of Bills,” Fadnavis told The Indian Express while recalling that the NCP chief’s earlier interviews and biography where he had expressed the need for an open and competitive market to ensure farmers get higher remuneration.
“The BJP plans to show the divide within the government. While Congress is opposing the reforms, NCP and Shiv Sena are in favour is the theory behind the campaign,” said a party leader.
“The pamphlets prepared by us also highlights that the Congress, in its election manifesto, had supported agricultural reforms. The 2006 reforms, including contract farming, was passed when Congress and NCP were in power,” the leader added.
The campaign attempts to convey to the farmers that the new laws would empower them, said party leaders. “BJP believes there is clear a divide among farmer unions. Not everybody is against these laws. Thus, the protest in the state was mild when compared to others,” a leader said.
Former agriculture minister and BJP Kisan Cell president Anil Bonde said, “The strength of the laws lie in the assurance that rights of farmers are non-negotiable. Irrespective of a contract signed between farmer and companies or loss or profit, agriculture land remains with individual farmer. The laws also have a clause that even after losses, companies have to pay for the produce procured from farmers.”
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