In a U-turn, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party never supported the three farm laws in Lok Sabha as alleged by the BJP. However, the friend-turned-foe Sena supported the bill in the Lok Sabha. But after the Akali Dal walkout of the Union cabinet indicated that it’s confused while attacking the government.
During the debate on the farm bills in Rajya Sabha, the three allies of ruling Maharashtra government, Sena, Congress and the NCP, also adopted different stances. While Congress was consistent in its opposition to the passage of these bills, Sena staged a walk out in the Rajya Sabha after supporting the bills in the Lok Sabha. The NCP’s Supriya Sule had opposed the bills in Lok Sabha, but the Sharad Pawar-led party walked out during the voice vote in the Rajya Sabha, hurting Congress’ efforts to cobble together numbers to defeat the legislation.
This gave enough indication that the Sena and NCP were not so veracious opponents of the bills as the opposition Congress.
However, the Sena leader Raut rubbished BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis’ reported comments that the Sena had supported the farm laws in Lok Sabha, saying the Uddhav Thackeray-led party never did so. There is no politics involved in it (Bandh). There should be none. Forget about the brain, if the government has heart, then the government, be it the Prime Minister or home minister, will approach and speak to the farmers, Raut said. Asked about Fadnavis’ remarks, Raut said, “This is an old issue. We did not support it (laws) and would never accept it.”
The political observers feel that the new stand of the Sena is utterly an aftermath in the wake of the successful farmers’ agitation across the country.
Taking a swipe at the Centre over farmers’ protests, Raut now suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Union Home Minister Amit Shah can hold talks with cultivators who are observing the Bharat Bandh against farm laws.
The response of Bharat Bandh on Tuesday showed that the government should speak with the farm organisations and come out with a solution. Forget opposition parties, even the BJP’s affiliates in the RSS have joined the chorus against the present form of the bills. They want farmers to be given a guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) by everyone procuring and penal action against defaulters.
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has asked the government to send the three bills to a parliamentary committee for greater scrutiny. Senior leaders of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance should have planned the bills for the winter session of Parliament in December and not pushed them in the monsoon session. The BKS also wanted the government to bring a bill in Parliament to ensure that farmers get minimum support price or MSP for their crops and that companies pay above MSP for the agriculture produce. The BKS in touch with representatives of the union government. The BKS was not opposed to the three Bills but the organisation has its own reservations.
In view of the situation and assessing the prevailing atmosphere across the country, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make a statement in this regard and ensure that the new laws would serve the farmers in a better way in the country. The PM Modi should also not make the issue as a prestige point and make necessary amendments in the laws in the larger interest.
** M Charulata