Oppn trying to mislead farmers, says PM Modi amid row over agriculture bills – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the farm bills passed by Lok Sabha are “historic” and hit out at the opposition parties for “misguiding” the farmers.
With opposition parties dubbing three bills as “anti-farmers” and the BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal quitting his government to protest them, PM Modi refuted their criticism, saying these laws will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere by negotiating a better price.
“Farmers have been given new independence in agriculture. They’ll now have more options and opportunities to sell their produce. I congratulate them on passage of these bills. It was necessary to bring these to protect them from middlemen. These are farmers’ shields,” the Prime Minister said while addressing a rally in Bihar.
Farmers of the country are aware and can see who are standing with middlemen, who “pocketed” profits meant for them, and opposing new opportunities being provided for them through these measures, he said.
The Prime Minister said the Congress had also promised in its manifesto what his government has now done through these bills, as he attacked the opposition party for fanning protests against these proposed legislations.
Taking on the opposition for protesting against the farm reforms, PM Modi said those who remained in power for decades are desperately trying to mislead farmers and lying to them on the agriculture bills.
The Prime Minister asserted that the legislations will end the role of the middlemen and the new laws will work as protective cover (Raksha kavach) for the farmers.
He asserted that MSP (Minimum Support Price) will be given to the farmers the way it was being given in the past.
“Opposition parties are spreading fake news that MSP will be withdrawn. I assure the farmers that the MSP will continue in future the way it is happening today. The government will continue to purchase their produces,” Modi said.
Two farm Bills – one on Agri market reforms and the other on contract farming provisions – were passed Thursday while the one on amending Essential Commodities Act was passed on Tuesday.
Political parties and farm organisations such as the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella body of several other organisations, have been protesting against the bills which they believe are designed to help big corporate houses at the cost of farmers, other groups such as Maharashtra-based Shetkari Sanghatana support such reforms.
Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Modi government on Thursday in protest against the bill, saying that her party – SAD – stands with the farmers.
(With inputs from PTI)
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