Agri Business

Neither farmers nor govt ready to blink

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 30, 2020 Published on November 30, 2020

Farmers' fury: Farmers are protesting at Delhi's Sindhu border against the Centre's new farm bill amidst the covid-19 pandemic in chilly winters.   -  Kamal Narang

Agitating farmers turn strident; PM insists there’s no deceit behind farm reform laws

There appears no solution in sight for the stand-off — five days old now — between the Centre and agitating farmers camping on the borders of the national capital, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinting on Monday that his government is no mood to give in to the farmers’ demands.

This further emboldened the leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the Dilli Chalo march, who reiterated their stand that the recently passed farm laws were not in the interest of farmers, but instead helped corporates, and that they should go. They also wanted to stop the government from going ahead with the planned Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020, which would take away concessions given on power used for agriculture.

Thousands of farmers continued to protest on the Delhi-Haryana border even as the police enhanced security measures at the entry points to the capital. The BJP attacked Delhi’s AAP government for backing the protests.

Modi, speaking at the inauguration of a project to widen a section of the national highway between Varanasi and Prayagraj, emphasised that the laws are meant to help farmers access global markets, where Indian produce is much in demand.

‘Pure intentions’, says PM

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said: “I know that decades of deceit make farmers apprehensive but now there is no deceit; work being done (by this government is) with intentions as pure as Ganga jal.”

“If someone thinks that the earlier system is better, how is this law stopping anyone,” asked a strident Modi. He added that earlier, transactions outside the mandi were illegal but now the small farmer can take legal action regarding such transactions, too, thanks to the farm reforms.

Amit Shah holds talks, again

Earlier in the day, Home Minister Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held yet another round of meetings, the second in two days. This came after the farmers rejected the offer made by Shah to advance the talks from the earlier decided date of December 3 if they agreed to move to Burari in Delhi, where arrangements for their camping have been made. The farmers made it clear that they would not accept any condition for the talks and that they would not move to the Nirankari Samagam Ground, which they said would only be an ‘open jail’.

“These utterances are a further insult to the farmers’ hopes that the government will make sincere effort to address their issues and concerns,” said a statement issued by the All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee, which, along with 30 farmer organisations from Punjab and the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, is spearheading the agitation. “These laws are only about freedom to the corporates, opportunities for the corporate and income for the corporate at the expense of farmers.”

Political repercussions

The day also saw a BJP ally, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), and Rajasthan MP Hanuman Beniwal, threatening to quit the NDA if the government does not show willingness to talk to the farmers.

The RLP was the second NDA partner after the Jannayak Janta Party of Haryana to try to coax the government to relent.

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Published on November 30, 2020
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