The ongoing protests against new agriculture laws have been infiltrated by “Leftists and Maoist elements”, Union minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday and called on India Inc. to explain the benefits of the reforms to farmers in their sphere of influence.
In a virtual address at the 93rd annual convention of FICCI, Goyal said, “…we now realise that the so-called farmer agitation hardly remains a farmer agitation. It is almost infiltrated by Leftists and Maoist elements, a flavour of which we saw over the last two days, when there were extraneous demands to release people who have been put behind bars for anti-national activities.”
Goyal said the movement is probably in the hands of certain elements who are not good for the country.
Stating that the reforms would benefit 100 million farmers across the country, the minister said: “I would urge all of you to educate farmers in your sphere of influence…hold a “panchayat”; talk to the local people, understand if they have any misunderstandings or concerns; address them.”
Goyal also asked FICCI to send a report on its efforts in this regard.
The minister said the government is working on an agenda to boost manufacturing output across 24 sectors by Rs 200 lakh crore over 10 years. “We have identified another 24 sectors, on which work is going on at different levels. The initiative is led by industry…to come up with an actionable agenda to add nearly Rs 200 lakh crores worth of manufacturing in India In the next 10 years,” he said.
He also said this agenda would add millions of jobs and work opportunities.
Congress says apologise, accede; Soren calls it akin to abusing farmers
The Opposition hit out at Union minister Piyush Goyal’s remarks, with the Congress seeking an apology and JMM leader and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren saying the statement amounted to abusing farmers.
“Modji, there is no place for autocracy in a democracy. The policy that you and your ministers follow is to declare every opponent a Maoist and an anti-national… Apologise to the farmers… and accede to their demands,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said.
“When it comes to propaganda, I think the BJP’s rating is higher than all the agencies…To insult farmers like this, to ignore them…in some ways it is like abusing the farmers,” Soren said at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express.
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