Bid to mislead farmers will not succeed: Rajnath

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Shimla, Dec 27 (PTI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said attempts to 'mislead' farmers on recent agriculture laws will not succeed.

Addressing a state-level function to mark the third anniversary of the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government in Himachal Pradesh, he said the new laws will raise the income of farmers, but the Congress is misleading them.

Whenever a reform is effected, it takes a few years before it starts showing positive results, Singh said in his virtual address.

Be it the 1991 economic reforms brought in by then finance minister Manmohan Singh or the ones introduced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, it took four-five years to see the positive results, he added.

'Similarly, if we cannot wait for four-five years, we can at least wait for two years to witness the positive results of the agriculture reforms being carried out by the Narendra Modi government,' Singh said.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at different border points of Delhi against the three laws enacted in September.

They claim that the new laws will destroy the 'mandi' (wholesale market) system and end the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, apprehensions that the government has insisted are misplaced.

Singh said the Atal Tunnel, dedicated recently by the prime minister to the nation, will not only be of great help to the people of Lahaul-Spiti district, but is also of strategic importance. He also termed Himachal Pradesh as 'Vir Bhumi' as almost every family in the state's villages has a serving soldier or an ex-serviceman.

The senior BJP leader lauded the efforts of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur for his government's achievements.

The message of BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda, who is suffering from COVID-19, was read out on the occasion by the party's state general secretary, Trilok Jamwal.

The chief minister said his government, in its first three years, remained dedicated towards the welfare of every section of the society and the development of every area of the state.

He said the coronavirus pandemic has forced the government to organise this event with utmost simplicity while strictly following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place due to the pandemic. The chief minister said MoUs worth Rs 96,000 crore were signed at the 'Global Investor Meet' organised at Dharamshala last year and within a month, ground-breaking of projects worth Rs 13,500 crore was performed. Of this, work on projects worth Rs 10,000 crore has already started.

Addressing the event virtually from New Delhi, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur congratulated the Himachal Pradesh government and the people of the state for the glorious three years of the government.

He said interest-free loans amounting to about Rs 500 crore have been provided to the state to ensure the pace of development.

State BJP In-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said the BJP government at the Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has ensured the development and welfare of every section of the society.

Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal expressed hope that under the able leadership of Chief Minister Thakur and with the benevolence and blessings of the central leadership, the state government would ensure that Himachal Pradesh becomes the most developed state in the country.

The message of another former chief minister, Shanta Kumar, who is also suffering from COVID-19, was read out on the occasion by BJP state secretary Kusum Sadrate.

Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, state BJP president Suresh Kashyap and state BJP co-incharge Sanjay Tandon also spoke on the occasion.

The defence minister and the chief minister released a coffee table book titled 'Sushashan Aur Vishwas Ke, Teen Saal Vikas Ke' on the three years' achievements of the state government. A documentary on the achievements of the state government was also screened.

Earlier, the chief minister inaugurated an exhibition put up by various departments of the government at the Ridge here. PTI DJI RC