New Delhi: With farmers, especially from Punjab, protesting against new agri laws, the BJP on Monday urged them not to have “misconceptions” about these reforms which, it asserted, have nothing to do with the mechanism of minimum support price (MSP) and ‘mandi’ that will continue along with the government’s purchase of grains.
The BJP also attacked Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government for backing protests against the three farm laws, noting that it has already notified these Acts and begun implementing them.
Amit Malviya, who heads the party’s IT wing, took a swipe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his party’s opposition to these laws, accusing him of doing politics over the issue despite notifying these legislations that allow farmers to sell their produce outside mandis.
“Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has already notified the new Farm Laws on 23 Nov and had started implementing them. But now that the Khalistanis and Maoists have stepped in to oppose, he sees an opportunity to burn down Delhi. It was never about farmers. Just politics…,” he said.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad sought to refute criticism of these bills by some farmer bodies and opposition parties.
“New agri laws do not end APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis. Mandis will continue to operate as they have been. New laws have given farmers the freedom to sell their produce anywhere. Whoever gives farmers the best price will get to buy their produce be it inside the mandis or outside,” he said.
Many misconceptions like the farm bills are a conspiracy to not offer farmers MSP, are being spread, he said, adding that the reality is that these legislations have nothing to do with the minimum support price. “The MSP has been in force and will remain in force,” he said.
Big companies will not be able to exploit farmers following these laws, as farmers can walk out of contract anytime without paying any penalty, the Union minister asserted.
Contracts under the new laws will in fact ensure that farmers get the assured price, he said.
Another senior BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Don’t have misconceptions about the farm laws. Farmers of Punjab have sold more paddy in mandi than they did last year and at a higher MSP. MSP is alive and so is mandi. And government purchase is also taking place.”
BJP leader Anurag Thakur said the agri sector reforms are opening up new opportunities for farmers to increase their profitability and opportunities.
The farmers are protesting against the three laws — Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 — that took effect from September 27 after President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.