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Amit Shah’s statement was positive, it is time to initiate dialogue: Bharatiya Kisan Sangh

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on December 01, 2020 Published on December 01, 2020

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh General Secretary Badri Narayan Chaudhary

The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) is not part of the farmers’ organisations protesting against the three farm laws but it is supporting the agitation. The BKS believes the Centre should withdraw the three laws that would ultimately result in dismantling the APMC regime and create a framework of contract farming and enable private players to invest in agriculture marketing infrastructure. In an interview to BusinessLine, BKS General Secretary Badri Narayan Chaudhary explained why he thinks Home Minister Amit Shah’s response in Hyderabad last week where he struck a conciliatory note with the agitating farmers and was “mature”, and the reasons for his organisation to stay away from the protest. Excerpts:

You have been silent throughout the agitation, why are you not part of it? Are you supporting the farm laws?

We are against the farm laws. We were the first organisation to issue a statement against them. We got memoranda from 15,000 villages passed against the laws and sent them to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and to the Agriculture Minister.

But it has been our policy never to participate in any violent movement. All these organisations that are protesting are groups that converge only when there is an immediate issue.

The BMS is active throughout the year. We are working with the farmer 24-hours a day on seeds, fertilisers, crops etc. But we do not want them to be on the roads.

But we are connected with the organisations that are protesting. We are also speaking in favour of the farmers. We had, in fact, told the Agriculture Minister to not delay the talks with the farmers till December 3. Why wait for a crisis to grow? Amit Shah gave a positive statement. This is not the time to react. There is immediate need to initiate a dialogue.

The government has invited the farmers for talks but it seems they are not going. There seems to be a lack of trust and the positions have hardened after the Prime Minister’s address in Varanasi…

You see, some voices from the agitation are misleading. Political parties are also involved and it creates distrust. It conveys the impression that somebody is firing from the farmers’ shoulders. Such elements should not be given any space inside the movement.

A genuine farmers’ movement should remain a farmers’ movement. Why should it be supported from Canada or political parties? Their leadership should think about it. It smacks of a political agenda. They should be clear about who is leading the movement.

Do you believe the movement is partisan?

That is not what I am saying; we have also supported the movement. But the fact is that in Punjab, rice and wheat is already being procured 100 per cent at MSP. It is also a fact that the protests are led mainly by those farmers who are affected by MSP, which is only 6 per cent of the total farmers, as opposed to the 94 per cent who are not affected.

About 71 per cent of our farmers do not even know what MSP is. There are intricacies here that one needs to understand.

So you’re not part of this process at all?

We are for a dialogue at the earliest. I believe now they (the agitating farmers) are now saying why only people from Punjab have been called for talks.

But if they’re the only ones agitating, then the government will call them. And they should include us also in the dialogue process. We also want to be part of the solution. We have been speaking for the farmers and against the farm laws. We have been for the farmers’ movement even though we are not part of the movement.

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Published on December 01, 2020
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