Rajnath Singh tries to pacify farmer protests, assures MSP will rise continuously in coming years
Responding to the rising agitation in the country against recently passed three farm legislations, Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh said that the government was open to hearing farmer groups concerns and apprehensions. Singh, who controlled the agriculture portfolio during late Prime Minister Vajpayee’s government, called himself “son of a farmer”, and assured that the Modi government would not do anything against farmer’s interests.
On Thursday, while holding a news briefing with a select group of journalist, Singh said, “I appeal to all farmer organisations to come and talk to us to clear issues; I’ve already begun such meetings… As a farmer’s son, I want to make it clear Modi govt. will not do anything against farmers’ interests.”
Just before the ending of monsoon session, Parliament passed the three bills: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, in the last session. The move was immediately met with strong opposition and protests all across the country as the legislation was passed without the consent of opposition.
Opposition, farmer groups and former BJP ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) slammed the government and called these black laws as they said these favoured big corporations over the country’s vulnerable farmers. Singh hit out at the Congress and other opposition party leaders for promoting chaos and deliberately creating misunderstandings about the farm bills passed by Parliament
Defence Minister, while giving out clarification pertaining to the matter’s bone of contention, Minimum Support Price (MSP), said that MSP would not only stay but for certain crops would continue to rise in the coming years. Singh also assured the farmers that no one could claim ownership of a farmers’ land in the name of contract farming and added that there were enough laws in the constitution to ensure safety of the interests of farmers.
Besides, at the conference Singh severely condemned the burning of a tractor near India Gate, in Central Delhi, by leaders of the Congress party in the rage of protests. “A tractor was burnt. What is its logic? As weapons are sacred and respectable for soldiers, similarly tractors are to farmers. And I know this being a farmer, in any eventuality farmer will never burn his tractor. This was done by a political party for its political interest,” he said.