New Delhi: In yet another outreach to protesting farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday once again reiterated that the recently passed farm laws are not coercive and only provide options.
Speaking in Parliament, the prime minister reiterated that the old system of agriculture markets and MSP would continue. He also hit out at those “misleading” the farmers and the movement.
The PM said that he treats the kisan andolan as sacred but andolanjeevis have defamed the movement.
“The movement has importance in India’s democracy but what happens when the agitators come out to defile the holy movement for their own benefit? The work of ruining the holy agitation of the farmers has been done by andolanjeevis and not andolankaris. Therefore, it is very important for the country to differentiate between the two,” he added.
“To use the agitation to demand the release of Naxalites, terrorists behind bars by showcasing their photos is to defile the movement,” he said.
Modi’s speech was disrupted several times by the opposition before the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) staged a walkout.
On his part, Modi accused the Congress of adopting different stances in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and said it is like a “divided party” that can do no good for the country.
“This uproar is a pre-planned strategy to ensure the real truth behind the situation of the three laws remains hidden,” he added. “I want to ask every farmer, have the new laws snatched any right of yours that was available earlier? What has happened is an alternative option has been provided. That is the arrangement under the new laws. You can choose.”
Modi said everyone whether in power or in opposition needs to work for the welfare of the farmers. “We all have the responsibility to empower the farmers,” he added.
No problem in making changes to law
The prime minister also said that his government has no problems in making changes to the farm laws if the farmers express a convincing argument. “We are awaiting them to come up with suggestions,” he said.
Lashing out at the opposition for its politics on the farm laws, Modi said: “Our farmer brothers sitting on Delhi’s borders are being misled by rumours and misunderstanding about farm laws”.
He added that there is a new type of agitation — of creating fear through strange reasoning. “That’s the difference between the andolankarta and andolanjeevis,” he said.
Citing several examples, Modi said it is for the first time he heard of a new logic in opposing the reform being undertaken by his government.
“I heard a new logic of why there is a new law that no one has asked for. This is not compulsory. So the question of asking and giving does not arise,” he said. “In the past, no one had demanded anti-dowry, anti-triple talaq laws, rights for daughters in property, right to education, construction of toilets.. a progressive society demands it and hence the laws were made.”
Modi further said that the contribution of both the government and private sector was required for the development of the country.
“If the public sector is necessary for the country, then the contribution of the private sector is also necessary… It is not right to constantly undermine the contribution of the private sector.”
Modi also asked the opposition to conduct their politics well. “There is no discussion on the issue of development. Rather than asking us how many roads are constructed, how much the railway network has expanded… They are busy doing all this. But we don’t believe in regressive politics but progressive politics,” he added.
“We introduced the three farm laws as a response to the crisis the agriculture sector faced,” he said, “But I noticed that in the debate, especially the Congress talked more of the colour of the laws rather than its intent and content.”
Stressing on the fact that the public needs to be empowered, Modi said “still waters are a site of disease while running water is full of joy, giving life. Status quo mentality will destroy the country. The youth can’t wait any longer,” he added.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.