The former chief minister and senior BJP leader, Devendra Fadnavis on Friday defended the new agriculture laws brought by the Narendra Modi government and asserted that these “revolutionary” legislation were aimed at providing the freedom to farmers to sell their produce wherever they want.
The state BJP that organised farmers’ rallies and meetings in support of the new laws in Maharashtra said that Prime Minister Modi has always stood behind the country’s farmers and would continue to do so in future. The leader of the Opposition in the state legislative Assembly also accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government of fooling the farmers through false promises.
Farmers, who sell their produce at the market yards, have to pay transport, labour, weighing and other charges. For example, a farmer recently sold his produce worth Rs 15,000 in Pune’s market yard. Of the Rs 15,000, he paid Rs 4,000 as transport, labour charges and weighing charges. This is injustice, he pointed out while showing the payment receipt.
Fadnavis alleged that some people had double standards on the new agriculture laws. “In 2006, the Maharashtra government brought a law regarding contract farming. So the law related to contract farming brought by Modiji was introduced in Maharashtra in 2006. From 2006 till date, there is not a single case in which someone’s farm has been usurped due to the contract farming,” he further pointed out.
In the present law brought by Modiji, if there is any dispute between the farmer and the trader, the farmer can approach a court. In the 2006 law of Maharashtra, there is no such provision, he added. Hitting out at the MVA government, Fadnavis said the farmers in the state were being ignored. “We stood behind the farmers during our rule. We provided monetary help to them in the event of rains and other calamities. But unfortunately, nobody from the state government is ready to look into the farmers’ issues today,” he added.
Earlier, amid the intensifying farm agitation, Prime Minister Modi on Friday interacted with farmers from six states and released benefits under PM-Kisan scheme virtually. Modi asserted that his government was also ready for talks with those vociferously opposing the Centre over the agrarian laws. At the same time, he maintained that the discussion should be based on facts. Stressing that his government is taking all possible steps to ensure the welfare of farmers, he appealed to them to not fall prey to the lies spread by some political parties. Additionally, the PM lambasted the opposition for using the farmers’ platform to put forth unrelated demands such as the release of the accused in cases involving violence.
He added, “Some political parties who have been democratically rejected by the people of the country, who are misguiding farmers, are not letting talks take place owing to some political reason. Because the ones with political ideology who are shooting from the farmer’s shoulders don’t have a strong argument about the farm laws, they are raising other issues in the name of farmers. In the beginning, their demand was that MSP should be guaranteed. Now MSP demand has been side-lined, now they are demanding the release of people accused of violence.”
As the agitation entered Day 30, the farmers’ unions said that the minimum support price cannot be separated from the demand of repealing the contentious agriculture laws, asserting that the issue of a legal guarantee for the MSP is a key part of their agitation.