18 Sep 2020: Don't be misled: Modi tells farmers, amid agriculture Bills' criticism
With three agriculture Bills taking the shape of a new controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged farmers to not be misled and assured that they would not be treated unfairly.
Badal is a member of BJP's long-time ally Shiromani Akali Dal.
Statement: Misinformation being spread that farmers won't get right prices: PM
PM Modi spoke via video-conference after the launch of a Railways bridge in poll-bound Bihar. He dedicated the most part of his speech to farmers and the criticism the Bills have received.
"Misinformation is being spread that farmers won't get right prices. They are forgetting how aware the country's farmers are," he said, at a time when farmers' protests have rocked North India.
Fact: PM Modi said farmers have been given new independence
"Farmers have been given new independence in agriculture. They will now have more options and opportunities to sell their produce. I congratulate them on the passage of Bills. It was necessary to bring these to protect them from middlemen. These are farmers' shields," he added.
Details: The Bills will empower farmers, Centre had said
To recall, the ordinances were announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman months ago, when she divulged details of Rs. 20 lakh crore Aatmanirbhar Bharat package, rolled out to provide respite to the coronavirus-battered economy.
The Bills seek to empower farmers, allowing them to sell products anywhere in the country. However, some farmers believe they would be devoid of MSPs if the Bills become laws.
What he said: Forces opposing Bills want to limit the farmers: PM Modi
Slamming the critics of Bills, namely the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, PM Modi said they want to restrain farmers.
Taking a dig at Congress, without naming the party, he said those who ruled for decades were now misleading farmers.
Statement: "Farmers know who is ruining their opportunities"
On the concerns of MSPs, PM Modi said the NDA government is mindful of the same, adding that no one has done for farmers as much as his government.
"Farmers are aware and can see who is standing with middlemen and opposing new opportunities for them," he went on.
The Bills have been cleared in the Lok Sabha.
Fact: Here is a clip from his address
Reaction: After quitting Cabinet, Badal said Centre should have consulted parties
Earlier, Badal, the sole Akali member in the Union Cabinet, said the concerns are genuine.
"I said the government should bring the Bills after consultation with stakeholders, what is politics in this? Farmers are agitating not only in Punjab but also in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra," she said.
Meanwhile, another BJP ally, JJP is also facing heat over this sensitive issue.