Ahead of Parliament debate, Nadda tries to allay concerns over agriculture bills

Farmer bodies have been protesting accusing the govt of favouring big corporates

PTI05-09-2020_000073B BJP chief JP Nadda | File

Ahead of the fierce debate over the agriculture bills listed for discussion in the parliament, BJP chief J.P. Nadda clarified that the reforms were aimed at helping the farmers and their interests were saved.

Nadda held a press conference at the party office on Wednesday hours ahead of the bills to be taken up for passing in Lok Sabha. BJP ally in Punjab, Akali Dal, had said they will oppose the bills in the Lok Sabha. Akali Dal Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had expressed reservations over some of the provisions in the bills, which were causing anguish among the farmer community.

Farmer bodies have been protesting against the bills saying the government was favouring big corporate lobbies and was moving ahead to remove the minimum support price, which ensured some cushioning to the crop producers.

Nadda said MSP will not be removed. “MSP has been there, it is there and will also continue to be there.”  His public assertion was aimed at addressing the concerns of his party allies and farmer bodies, which were opposing the bills. The Congress has been ppposing the bills, with Punjab CM Amarinder Singh even threatening to approach the court if the bills are passed. This had put Akali Dal in a piquant situation in the state.

However, Nadda argued that MSP will continue to stay in the APMC mandis. “If any farmer was getting a higher price outside, then he would prefer to take that than the MSP. We have given the farmer an option to sell his produce outside the mandis. A farmer will only go outside if he is getting a higher price than MSP, otherwise he will continue to stay.”

The BJP chief also hit out at the Congress saying the opposition party had promised to bring changes in these legislations in its manifesto, and now was opposing them. “They are playing politics. Their move exposes them when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to help the farmers,” Nadda said.

He said that the three bills—Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance Bill—will help the farmers. “All three bills are reformist and revolutionary. Farmers will be free to sell their produce in a competitive market of their choice. These bills will help farmers get higher prices for their produce.”

The essential commodities bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

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