On a day thousands of farmers took to the streets in protest against the farm Bills passed by Parliament recently, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra indicated that it was set to oppose the implementation of the new legislation in the state.
The three farm Bills—the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020—were passed during the recent Monsoon Session, amid intense protests by opposition parties.
“The Union government got the new farms Bills passed… but there are protests against them across the country. If the bills have to be considered for Maharashtra… they may not be implemented in the state. However, we will hold discussions with experts before any decision is taken,” NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar told mediapersons in Pune on Friday.
Pawar’s colleague in the state cabinet, state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, also indicated that stalling the implementation of the contentious farm Bills was an option.
“The Congress is against the implementation of the farm Bills. The Maha Vikas Aghadi is also opposed to these legislations. We may decide against implementing these in the state,” said Thorat, the president of Maharashtra Congress.
Earlier this week, Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had said that if required, the Congress could consider non-implementation of the bills in the states under its rule.
Thorat was addressing the media during the launch of a two-month long ‘mass movement’ against the central government for pushing “anti-farmer and anti-labour legislations without review”. All India Congress’s Committee’s Maharashtra in-charge H K Patil, former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan, senior Congress ministers and MLAs from Maharashtra were present during the event.
Kicking off its campaign, the Congress in Maharashtra is also set to launch an online protest — #SpeakUp for farmers — on Saturday, following which senior leaders will walk to the Raj Bhavan on September 28 to submit a memorandum against these legislations to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, to be handed over to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Later, on October 2, on the occasion of the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, the party will observe Kisan Mazdoor Bachao Diwas, where demonstrations and protest meets will be held across the state. Between October 2 and October 31, the party will collect signatures from farmers, traders of Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and labourers.
On November 14, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Congress will submit a detailed memorandum along with the signatures of farmers from across India to President Kovind.
On Friday, H K Patil announced that one crore signatures will be collected from Maharashtra against the farm Bills. Contending that the farm legislations will cripple the APMC network, Patil accused the Centre of “wanting to reimpose the zamindari system in the country.”
Tweet on Deendayal Upadhyaya deleted
A tweet remembering Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya on his birth anniversary, tweeted by NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s handle on Friday morning, raised many eyebrows. However, it was deleted within an hour. On the tweet being deleted, Pawar said, “It is necessary to follow the instructions of party seniors in politics.”
A similar tweet was also sent by the official handle of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
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