Updated: December 18, 2020 5:09:44 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the farm laws were not brought overnight, but parties, experts, progressive farmers had long demanded the reforms. “There were demands for the reforms from parties, experts, progressive farmers for many years. The previous governments had made promises to the farmers but never delivered. They are upset because what they had only talked about, Modi has done that,” he said, adding that they don’t have any problem with the reforms but with Modi.
Addressing the farmers in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing at a state-level Kisan Sammelan (farmers’ conference), organised in Raisen district, he said the opposition have always used the farmers for their vote-bank politics. “People should seek replies from political parties who talked about agricultural reforms in their manifestos,” he added.
He also alleged that the previous governments under the Opposition sat over the Swaminathan committee report for years. “We have implemented it in interest of farmers,” he said.
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PM Modi said a total amount of Rs 16 thousand crores are being transferred into the bank accounts of 35 lakhs farmers of Madhya Pradesh. “Today, several farmers have been given Kisan Credit Card. Earlier, they were not available to all farmers. But we changed rules to make Kisan Credit Card available to all farmers across the country,” he added.
This comes a day after nearly a thousand farmers embarked on a foot march from Morena to join protests at Delhi borders, where the stir against the contentious farm laws passed by the Centre has entered its 23rd day.
Before the PM’s speech, Chief Minister Shivraj assured that Mandis will not be closed. “PM Modi wants to double the income of farmers. Mandis won’t be closed at all… Congress is shedding crocodile tears, Kamalnath had distributed fake loan waiver certificates” he said.
Chouhan on Thursday took stock of the preparations for the four-tier Kisan Kalyan event and directed the collectors of all districts to make necessary arrangements and ensure that information about it reaches the cultivators. Similar programmes will also be organised at district, block and panchayat levels in the state. The chief minister also directed the authorities to ensure that COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing and wearing of masks, are maintained, the official said.
The PM’s address is a part of the fresh nationwide campaign launched by the ruling BJP to counter attempts by opposition parties to “misguide and mislead” the farmers. With the farmers protesting on the borders of the national capital refusing to relent on their demand for repeal of three new farm laws, the BJP’s national leadership has written to all state units, asking them to hold Kisan Sammelans, mass awareness and public outreach programmes to “sensitise” the farmers about the benefits of the farm laws against which farmers from Punjab and Haryana are protesting. The senior ministers and leaders of the party are also holding meetings with “pro-farm laws farmers’ groups”, to signal that the demand for a repeal of the three laws doesn’t reflect a national farmer sentiment.
Addressing a Kisan Sammelan in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district on Thursday, Gujarat’s Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the farmers’ protest on the borders of Delhi against the Centre’s three new laws had the support of “anti-national elements, terrorists, Khalistanis, communists and pro-China people”.
“If 50,000 out of 130 crore population come on to the streets asking to repeal a law, then tomorrow some other people will come and demand repeal of CAA… Anti-national elements will come together, terrorists from Kashmir and pro-Pakistan people will come together with instigation from Pakistan… if 50,000 anti-nationals come together and demand to repeal the law that abrogated Article 370, do we have to repeal the Act passed by Parliament? If 50,000 people demand, do we let Kashmir go (to Pakistan)? If 50,000 Communists get together and ask to give Ladakh to China, do we have to do so?” he said.
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