Varanasi: Tearing into the opposition over the protests against the new agri-marketing laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said those who have a history of deceit were playing tricks again on farmers.
The attack comes when thousands of farmers are gathered at the entry points of the national capital, seeking the repeal of the three laws.
“The farmers are being deceived on these historic agriculture reform laws by the same people who have misled them for decades,” he said, in an apparent reference to parties which are now in the opposition but not directly naming them.
The prime minister was addressing a public meeting in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, where he spent several hours.
He dedicated to the nation the six-laning of a 73-km highway to Allahabad at the cost of Rs 2,447 crore, took part in televised prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple, reviewed the temple corridor project and took a ride along the ghats on a cruise boat.
As dusk fell, he witness the spectacle of Dev Deepawali in which rows of lamps were lit on the river bank.
In his address, he strongly defended the farm laws which deregulate the sale of crops but have also triggered apprehensions that the minimum support price (MSP) system is being dismantled.
He reiterated that farmers who wanted to follow the old system of trading referring to the mandis’ where they can get the MSP are still free to do so. But the three laws gave them new options to sell for more, he said.
He said whenever new laws are enacted questions are bound to be asked.
But presently a new trend is being seen in the country. The protests are based on creating doubts through misinformation, Modi said.
We must remember that those doing so are the ones who had for decades deceived farmers, he claimed. The MSP used to be declared but very little procurement was done on it, he claimed.
Farmers have faced deceit on MSP, loan waiver schemes, urea and productivity for a long time in the past, he said.
He claimed that it is because of this long history of deceit that farmers are again wary as they are seeing the new move in the same manner. He asked why his government would spend so much to modernise the mandis if it planned to dismantle the MSP system
Modi gave figures claiming that crops worth much more were procured during the first five-year tenure of his BJP-led government than in the second term of the Congress government at the Centre.
He said small farmers will now be able to take legal action even on deals struck outside the mandis, which will not only provide them fresh alternatives but also protect them from being cheated.
He said his government has delivered on promises like ending the black marketing of urea and fixing the MSP at 1.5 times the cost of production, in line with the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
This promise was not only fulfilled on paper, but has made it to farmers’ bank accounts, the prime minister said.