Opposition parties are playing a dubious role in the entire issue & conspiring to create unrest, says Ravi Shankar Prasad
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad on 7 December addressed a press conference at BJP National headquarters in Delhi where he alleged that the opposition parties were misleading farmers and people over agriculture sector reforms issue. He said opposition parties were playing a dubious role in the entire issue and conspiring to create unrest by misleading people. Salient points raised by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Press Conference are as follows:
• Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre has always remained committed for the welfare and wellbeing of our farmers. Our government through laws related to agriculture sector reforms have been finding ways to improve lives of our farmers and to make them more progressive and give more opportunities to prosper and grow.
• To serve their petty political purposes and to save their vested interests, Congress along with other opposition parties are misleading and befooling innocent farmers just for their own political gains. They are unnecessarily and irresponsibly trying to create unrest among the farmers. This exposes the dubious and divisive character of such political parties.
• We strongly criticise those political parties who are opposing just for the sake of opposing without any logic or substance. He strongly criticised political parties who are trying to instigate innocent farmers just to meet their political goals and serve their vested interests. Nation will never forgive Congress and other opposition parties for befooling and misleading our farmers. Opposition parties are misleading our farmers but the fact is that agriculture sector reforms laws are in best interests of our farmers.
• When opposition parties are losing their relevance and are getting sidelined, when they are losing elections from panchayat to Parliament, when the people of India are rejecting them again and again, then these failed parties are trying to create a fake narrative and trying to build a false movement. We have seen this time and again, be it at the time of pro Section 370 protests, anti CAA protests and protests at Shaheen Bagh.
• Farmers’ leaders have categorically told political leaders not to share their stage or join their protests. But Congress and some other political parties are irresponsibly and unwarrantedly trying to give protests a wrong direction in order to serve their political interests.
• In 2019 Lok Sabha elections Congress had promised to repeal APMC act in English manifesto and make amendments in the APMC Act in Hindi version of manifesto. In a press conference in 2013 Rahul Gandhi had declared to take out fruits and vegetables from the ambit of the APMC Act. He had also promised to make amendments in the Essential Commodities Act.
“Farmers have unfortunately fallen in the trap of politics of some people with vested interests. We are committed to give small and marginal farmers good opportunity for their produce at markets.”
“I want to clarify once again that no land of farmers will either be sold, mortgaged or taken on lease. There will be no collateral on farmers’ land.”
• The then Union Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar in the UPA government, Sharad Pawar had in August 2010 and November 2011 written letters to all Chief Ministers asking them to immediately implement Model APMC Act and make amendments in the State APMC Act.
• In 2005 while giving interview to journalist Shekhar Gupta, Sharad Pawar had said if they does not reform the Mandis, they would not get financial support from the government. He even talked about penalising those opposing it. In his interview Sharad Pawar had even given timeline for abolition of the APMC Act.
• In the agriculture sector reforms matter a report was tabled in front of Parliament’s Standing Committee in which Mulayam Singh Yadav is also a member. The Standing Committee Report categorically states that it is need of the hour to save our farmers from the clutches of Mandis.
• During the Congress rule, Planning Commission in 2011 in its report had said that there was an urgent need to bring major changes in th APMC system. The Planning Commission had highlighted that to achieve this there was an urgent need to give to our farmers a better village level infrastructure and make arrangements for storage and processing of their produce.
• Between 2007 and 2012 the then Manmohan Singh government made laws for model contract farming which were implemented by almost all state governments and in majority of these states the Congress was in power.
• Arvind Kejriwal government on 23 November 2020 notified the Agricultural Sector Reforms law in Delhi, but now they are opposing it.
“Till date 1,000 Mandis, 1.68 crore farmers and 1.51 lakh traders have registered with e-NAM platform. Trade worth over Rs 1.15 lakh crore has been done through the e-NAM platform.”
• Constituents of UPA government or parties which supported UPA like NCP, DMK, RJD, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Left and TMC besides other parties supported pro farmer agriculture sector reforms bill in Parliament. But now they are taking sides with the Congress and opposing the law. All these parties are equally responsible for hurting the interests of our farmers.
• Since the implementation of Agriculture sector reforms laws minimum support price ( MSP) of six Kharif and Rabi crops have been hiked. By the end of November, 318 lakh tonnes of rice worth Rs 60,000 crore has been procured. Approximate 64% i.e. 202 lakh tonnes of paddy has been procured from Punjab itself.
• If we had any intention of shutting down Mandis and end MSP regime, procurement of rice at such a large scale would not have been done.