11 opposition parties issue joint statement, demand govt to repeal new farm Acts

New Delhi: As many as 11 opposition parties, in a joint statement on Thursday, demanded that the central government should repeal the new farm Acts and stop “baseless accusations” against them, even as farmers continued to protest against the Centre’s recently enacted laws at the borders of the national capital.

They also demanded that discussions on agrarian reforms be held with farmers and stakeholders, on the basis of which new enactments could be considered by the Parliament, by convening a special or a joint session if necessary.

In the statement issued by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury among others, the opposition strongly protested the allegations made by the Prime Minister that they were “repeatedly lying” to the farmers about the new farm laws and “using them for their politics”.

“We, the undersigned, have expressed our solidarity with the protesting farmers. The call for this ongoing historic struggle was given by more than 500 farmers’ organisations from all over the country under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha. Many of us had opposed these agricultural laws when they were being enacted in the Parliament without discussion or proper consideration. MPs who sought a vote were suspended,” the statement read.

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They refuted the “unsubstantiated accusations” that they were earlier in support of agrarian reform, saying that they sought reforms to strengthen the Indian agriculture, enhance the prosperity of farmers and ensure continued food security, while the present farm laws undermined those objectives.

They added that among the “big lies” that the government is spreading is one on the MSP.

“The PM claims the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report in this regard. This report had recommended an MSP of C(cost)2+50 per cent, while this government, at best, implements A2+50 per cent. In fact, this government told the Supreme Court its inability to implement C2+50 per cent MSP. Who is spreading lies,” the statement asked.

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They also demanded to repeal the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

“The unity, grit and determination being shown by lakhs of farmers from Delhi’s neighbouring states in the midst of a severe cold wave in a peaceful manner and tens of thousands on their way marching from different places to join this protest is a testimony to the fact that the farmers across the country have risen in opposition to these farm laws,” the statement concluded, claiming that 32 farmers have lost their lives in the duration of the protest.

Farmers have been protesting at the borders of Delhi since November 26 against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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