BSP has been protesting in Parliament against the farm laws. Although the party has criticised the alleged snooping, it did not join the Congress or TMC in their protests over it. BSP MP Ritesh Pandey speaks to The Indian Express about this:
BSP was among the protesting MPs, what were you protesting against?
We are protesting against the three farm laws. We believe they should be revoked because they will not benefit farmers and were brought without due consultation with farmers
Why have you decided to join SAD?
We have a coalition in Punjab. They are our partners and these issues are critical to our parties. We are focussed on assuring the farmers that they are heard.
Why did the BSP not join the other opposition parties over the snooping issue? Do you think it is an issue not linked to people?
We think it is a very serious matter, it is an attack on people’s privacy. But it is something previous governments have also done in other ways. It is very much in line with the ED and CBI being used to subdue political opponents. It is a dangerous weapon that has been brought into the limelight. Our leader Mayawati has categorically said that if true, it is an attack on democracy.
What do you have to say about the divided Opposition in the House?
As far as the Opposition is concerned, everyone has their issues. We are a party that is rooted in rural India. Therefore farmers are critical and that is our priority. Snooping is also an important issue and we have raised it in Parliament as we are standing in protest against that too. But the Congress has done it in the past. We do not want to be part of the double standard that the party represents.
The House has not been running since last Monday. Do you not think there has to be a way out?
Obviously the way is to have discussion and address public concerns. The Opposition is the other side of the coin of the government. If their views are related to the people, the government must find a way to discuss the issue. The government keeps saying it is ready for discussion. Then it should list it and set a time for it. Once this is done, the House will be in order.
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