With the government still trying to find ways to end the protest by Punjab and Haryana farmers at the borders of Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Opposition parties Tuesday, accusing them of “misleading” farmers, and “shooting from their shoulders” for “politics” over the new farm laws.
He said the government is “ready 24 hours” to resolve any doubt the farmers may have, and has “worked relentlessly” to bring down the expenses of farmers on agricultural inputs, provide them new alternatives, increase their income and ease their problems.
Speaking at a public meeting after launching projects in Kutch, the Prime Minister targeted the Opposition: “These days, in and around Delhi, there is a great conspiracy to mislead farmers, spread fear by telling them that after the new agricultural reforms, their land will be grabbed by others… If a dairywallah enters into a contract with you for milk, does he take away your cows and buffaloes? If someone buys fruits and vegetables, does he take away your land or your property?”
Attributing the growth of the dairy sector to what he called the freedom that dairy farmers enjoy, Modi said the agricultural reforms of his government provided the same freedom to agriculturalists.
“In our country, the contribution of the dairy industry to the agricultural economy, in terms of gross value, is more than 25%. This contribution is nearly Rs 8 lakh crore. The gross value of milk production is more than the gross value of food grains and pulses. Under this arrangement, cattle farmers have full freedom. Today, the country is asking why this freedom cannot be provided to small and marginal farmers who produce food grains and pulses.”
The demand for the recent agricultural reforms, he said, had been there for years. “Many farmer organisations used to demand that they be given the option to sell grain elsewhere.
Today, those sitting in the Opposition and misleading farmers were in support of these agricultural reforms when their government was in power. But they couldn’t make a decision when their government was there. They used to give false assurances to farmers. Today, when the country has taken this historic step, these very people have got together to mislead farmers.”
“I want to tell my farmer brothers and sisters once again – and I say it repeatedly – that the government is ready 24 hours to resolve any doubt they may have. The interest of the farmers has been one of the top priorities of the government from the very first day. That their expenditure on agriculture inputs should decrease, they should get new alternatives, their income should increase, the problems of farmers should decrease… for this, we have worked relentlessly. I am confident that the government’s honest intent, honest effort… I am confident that the strength of the blessings of farmers across the country… the alert farmers of the country will defeat those who have been misleading, doing politics, shooting from the shoulders of farmers,” he said.