Shiv Sena is a confused party: Devendra Fadnavis

Nagpur: The former Maharashtra chief minister and leader of the Opposition, Devendra Fadnavis on Monday dubbed its former ally, Shiv Sena as a confused party.

The Opposition leader made the remarks while speaking on the Agriculture Bills, saying it is a historic one due to which a farmer can sell his produce anywhere in the country. When asked about Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut’s query that if the bills are so revolutionary, can the government give assurance that no farmer will commit suicide in the country because of agriculture crisis, he said, “Shiv Sena is a confused party and it can’t even take a stand on many issues and now they have got used to it. This does not surprise us now.”

Stating that the Sena took a different stand on the bills in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, Fadnavis said, “When they were with us in the power, they behaved like a part of the government as well as the Opposition. The Sena needs to decide on its stand. It has not put forth any stand related to farming. Now, it is ruling the state. Several farmers have died by suicide in the state. If Sanjay Raut is asking so much, can his government give an assurance that farmers will not end lives in the state? It is nothing but politics.”

The Sena has opposed the agriculture bill in Rajya Sabha, along with the opposition Congress and some other parties. While opposing it, the Sena Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut demanded a special session of Parliament to discuss the agriculture sector reform Bills. “The government is saying that it is in the interest of the people. Can it assure the country that after the passing of the agriculture reform Bills, farmers’ income will double and no farmer will commit suicide?” Raut asked. Surprisingly, the Sena supported the bills in Lok Sabha but opposed it in the Rajya Sabha. “For them, selfishness is important, not the interest of farmers,” the leader of Opposition added.

The former Maharashtra chief minister, Fadnavis, who was the chairman of the “CMs Task Force on Agriculture issues,” set up by the Niti Ayog, claimed that almost all its recommendations were incorporated in the new Agriculture bills. He also claimed that such recommendations, including the concept of free market for farmers, bypassing the middlemen, contractual farming and other recommendations were even endorsed by the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath and the then chief minister of Karnataka, SD Kumarswamy, who were members of the Task Force. Besides, Dr. Swaminathan Commission had made similar recommendations, he pointed out.

He said the Congress had given assurances to farmers in its 2019 Poll manifesto but it was the Narendra Modi government at the Centre that had fulfilled promises made to cultivators.

He said the bills passed in Parliament would allow farmers to go in for contract farming, bring investment into the sector and also reduce the burden of farmers as it has done away with several taxes and cess. Farmers can now sell their produce as per their choice without having to pay any cess or tax. These bills are revolutionary, Fadnavis claimed.

According to him, the contract farming act was brought by the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra in 2006 and it has helped farmers, like creation of tomato and potato value chains in Nashik. He also attacked the ruling Shiv Sena and claimed the Uddhav Thackeray-led party had no stand on the agriculture sector and was confused about farmers” demands and rights.

Two Bills on farm sector were passed by the Rajya Sabha amid protests by opposition members on Sunday which were moved separately, have triggered protests by farmers in states like Punjab, Haryana and some other parts of the country.

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