The Opposition Tuesday boycotted the proceedings in Lok Sabha over farmers’ bills passed by Parliament and suspension of members in the Rajya Sabha.
As the House began on the day, the Opposition created a ruckus over the farmers’ bills and the happenings in Rajya Sabha. Within 15 minutes, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for an hour. As it met again around 4.15 pm, the Opposition again raised the issue followed by a response from Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar where he attacked the Congress for its alleged doublespeak.
Demanding the bills to be taken back and expressing solidarity with suspended RS members, Congress leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary said: “We hoped he would say something about farmers but he has resorted to white lies. Since 2014, farmers, youth and labour have suffered the worst. We wanted the MSP (Minimum Support Price) to continue, but you snatched that. You are forcing us to boycott the house, and we are going.”
Ranjan’s statement followed Tomar’s allegation that farmers’ agitation in various parts of the country had been organised by the Congress.
“Congress says something else in the house and something else among people. The protests are not being held by farmers but by the Congress. The reforms are going to help farmers. The productivity is going to rise, revolutionary change is going to come in the farm sector. The Congress is misleading farmers. Even during their time, MSP was not part of the Act,” Tomar said.
He added the Congress was rattled by the support that the Modi government was getting from farmers. “Even the Congress wanted this (reform) but because of pressure from middlemen they could not do so. Even Manmohan Singh spoke about this reform. But when we brought this and they saw that the farmers will now stand behind Modi ji, they are unsettled,” Tomar said.
He said the government had announced MSP for Rabi crops even before the sowing began. He reminded how Congress did not implement the Swaminathan Committee report and the Modi government did it by increasing the MSP by 1.5 times.
“We haven’t just brought legal reforms, we have increased MSP. Then we have given out Rs 75,000 crore through PM Kisan Yojana and Rs 1 lakh crore for infrastructure funds for rural India,” he said.
Earlier Chowdhary had said, “If my neighbour’s house is on fire, my house will also burn. Our issue was to take back the farm bill. Include MSP. But the government has gone from Mandikaran to Mandiharan. Sharad Pawar is on hunger strike… Will the minister say that he will take back the bills?”
To this, Speaker Om Birla said the House had discussed the Bills for five hours and 13 minutes before passing them and so it was not right to seek their withdrawal. “Today also there are bills to be passed. Discuss everything. Everyone will get an opportunity,” Birla said.
The DMK and TMC also staged protests against the farm bills.
DMK MP TR Baalu said the Bill had not been given proper consent by Parliament. TMC’s Kalyan Bannerji said: “All over India farmers are agitating against the Bill. The BJP may have a brute majority, but this is wrong.”
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