Oppn corners govt on handling farm protests, seeks repeal of laws; BJP defends

·5-min read

New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Opposition parties on Thursday launched a vociferous attack on the Centre over its handling of the farmers' agitation, callings its dialogues with the protestors 'monologues', even as the ruling BJP defended the new laws asserting that its government is committed to the welfare of peasants and increase their incomes.

Attacking the government, Opposition parties said trenches have been dug, barbed wires put up and spikes installed at the sites of farmers' protests, whereas bridges should have been built to win over them. The BJP highlighted the farm welfare measures and tore into the shifting of goalposts by the Opposition.

Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, Congress MP Deepinder Singh Hooda said the government has no right to question the patriotism of farmers as they are the ones who have made the country self-sufficient in food.

He hit out at the government saying it should show a big heart and accept the demands of farmers by repealing the farm laws.

'You talk about making (the country) self sufficient. Let me warn you that a self-obsessed government cannot make Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-sufficient India),' he said.

Hooda lamented that there has not been a single word of condolence from the government yet on 194 farmers who lost their life during the ongoing agitation.

Resuming the discussion, Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD said the government has lost the patience to hear and any criticism is painted as anti-national.

He noted that one has not seen such an aggressive approach even towards the neighbouring nations who came into Indian territory.

'Patriotism is not be worn on sleeves but carried in heart,' he said making use of poetry and sarcasm.

Contesting the government's claim of having 11 rounds of dialogue with agitating farmers, he said its ministers 'believe in monologue and not dialogue'.

Digvijaya Singh of the Congress lashed out at the government, saying measures like demonetisation to the CAA were 'blunders that hit the people hard'.

He said the void between the Modi government's promises and implementation was big and it could not win the hearts of people.

He said the prime minister had 'lost their trust'.

'You have got majority but dissent is essence of democracy,' Singh noted.

Former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda called farmers the backbone of the country. He said miscreants and anti-social elements were behind the events on Republic Day and all political parties have condemned their actions and agree that they need to be punished. 'But the farmers' issue should not be mixed with it, he said and added that the issue should be dealt with amicably.' However, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government is committed to farmers welfare and will help increase their incomes. He said it will provide Rs 1 lakh crore additional income to farmers that will be generated by converting waste into energy. The minister said the heap of waste at Ghazipur will also be cleaned soon to create energy.

Pradhan also said the government has come up with a scheme to procure ethanol worth Rs 20,000 crore which will help increase farmer's income.

He attacked the Congress for not bringing a law on MSP of crops despite being in power for long. 'You question those working honestly for farmers' welfare farmers,' he said.

'The Opposition Congress cannot appreciate such government efforts as it has never done except for hailing its dynasty,' he said.

'Those born with a golden spoon cannot digest when a tea-seller, son of a woman cleaning utensils in other houses for livelihood, takes reins of the government and that is why they talk against the government,' he said, adding that 'the public is watching them'.

BJP member Jyotiraditya Scindia said the government has taken a host of steps in the last six years to increase their income.

Scindia attacked his former party Congress for changing its stand on the three legislations, saying that the Opposition party has favoured similar laws in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

'Opposition parties will have to change their habit of going back on their words and wondered for how long they would continue to harm the interests of the country,' he said.

Scindia said the opposition has insulted the President, the country and the democracy by boycotting the President's address.

Swapan Dasgupta (nominated) stressed on the need for upgrading in the farm sector.

'If we can rise above this basic partisanship and welcome the Centre in the states and states with each other, I think we can be looking forward not merely to a 11 per cent (GDP) growth but a growth which can be 15 per cent which can be envy of the whole world,' he said.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien pressed the government to repeal the three farm laws and offered a ''Repealing Bill 2021' drafted by him for the purpose.

He also demanded a proper inquiry into the death of a farmer during the tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day.

He claimed the government had failed the migrant workers and also India's federal structure.

'They have failed the media. You can intimidate and threaten media barons but not the young media persons (on the ground),' he said.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh said his party would continue to support the farmers protesting against three farm laws.

He alleged that the current dispensation is just working for the benefit of some of the industrialists.

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya asked the government to withdraw the three contentious farm laws and hold talks with the agitating farmers.

He criticised the move to put barricades, cement blocks, concertina wires and spikes at the farmer protest sites on Delhi's border points.

N R Elango of the DMK asked the government to withdraw the three farm laws.

Banda Prakash of the TRS asked the government to complete the project promised to Telangana during the reorganisation of Andhra Pradesh.

Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) MP M V Shreyams Kumar on Thursday said the government has remained a mute spectator while democracy is being 'butchered' just a few kilometers away from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Earlier Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy introduced a new Bill - The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021. PTI SKC NKD MJH LUX PRS RSN NAM KRH MSS KKS ANZ ZMN