Updated: February 8, 2021 9:05:58 pm
Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration that the minimum support price (MSP) is here to stay, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait Monday made it clear that “business over hunger” would not be allowed in the country.
He further reiterated the farmers’ demand for a law on MSP for crops along with the repeal of new contentious agri-marketing laws.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader’s remarks came shortly after PM Modi, in his response to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in Rajya Sabha, reiterated the government’s stand on minimum support price saying, “MSP tha, MSP hai aur MSP rahega (MSP was there, MSP is there, MSP will continue).”
“Affordable ration for the poor will continue. Mandis will be modernised,” he added, questioning the opposition parties for taking a “U-turn” on agriculture reforms while also quoting his predecessor Manmohan Singh on the need for reforms in the farm sector.
Speaking to reporters, Tikait said: “Desh mein bhook pe vyaapaar nahi hoga. Bhook kitni lagegi anaaj ki keemat utni hogi. Desh mein bhook se vyaapaar karne walon ko baahar nikaala jaaega (There will not be business over hunger in the country. If hunger goes up, price of crops will be decided accordingly. Those wanting business over hunger will be driven out of the country)”.
He asserted that the price of crops will not be decided the way the rates of a flight ticket fluctuate several times a day. “The way rates of a flight ticket fluctuate three to four times a day, the price of crops will not be decided the same way,” he said.
On the PM’s remark about the emergence of a “new community” which is “engaged in protests”, Tikait said, “Yes, this time it is the farmers’ community which has emerged and people are also supporting the farmers”.
While praising the Sikh community, the prime minister also mentioned that “some people were trying to make a living out of protests.”
“Some people are feeding wrong things in the minds of Sikh people. This country is proud of the Sikhs. What have they not done for this country? However much we praise them is not enough,” the PM said and added, “The kind of language used for them, people who try to mislead them, this is not going to benefit anyone”.
“There are some people who make a living out of protests. You can find them in every protest site,” Modi further said and warned the opposition that such people might harm their governments too.
Tikait further slammed the attempts to divide the ongoing movement of farmers on caste and religious lines.
“This movement was first portrayed as Punjab’s issue, then Sikhs” then Jats, so on and so forth. The farmers of the country are united. There is no small farmer or big farmer. The movement belongs to all farmers,” he said.