Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president Prakash Ambedkar on Thursday demanded that the Union government should bring a law making violation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) a serious offence subject to harsh punishment in order to safeguard financial security of farmers.
“The VBA is vehemently opposed to all three farm laws that were hastily bulldozed by the Modi government in the Parliament. We are not going to accept any amendment or modification. Our stand is they should be withdrawn, as they are going to favour big corporate houses,” Ambedkar told The Indian Express.
He added that VBA is trying to mobilise its supporters among Dalits, tribals and OBCs to protest against the farm laws. On Thursday, VBA workers staged demonstrations outside collectors’ offices across Maharashtra, demanding rollback of the laws.
“We want all like-minded organisations representing farmer groups and unions to join hands in this battle… The condition is that we won’t to align with neither BJP nor ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in Maharashtra,” said Ambedkar.
The VBA leader has refused to join a December 22 protest call by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana — an ally of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government — in support of the farmers’ agitation in Delhi-NCR.
“We cannot join hands with any organisation that is aligned to BJP, Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena… The MVA government protest raises many questions. What was its stand in Parliament when the farm Bills were being discussed? The ruling parties are constantly changing their stand to suit their politics,” said Ambedkar.
He added that the three laws are not going to help small and marginal farmers. “The laws favour the big marts. Corporate houses and industrialists will capture the entire agriculture sector.”
“Government procuring crops from farmers is essential to maintain the disbursement process at highly subsidised rates. Once agriculture goes into private hands, what will be the status of subsidised foodgrains to be supplied to the poor…?” said Ambedkar.