Cuddalore (TN), Mar 19 (PTI) In a spirited defence of the Centre's farm laws during his campaign for the April 6 Tamil Nadu assembly polls, AIADMK top leader and Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Friday said his party opposed aspects like cess and levy for farmers but the DMK 'supported' them.
Hitting out at DMK chief M K Stalin who has been focusing on the farm laws and opposing them in his election propaganda, Palaniswami said the former does not know anything about farming and the AIADMK would be the first party to resist any move if farmers were to be affected.
Canvassing votes for Selvi Ramajayam, AIADMK nominee in Kurinjipadi, an agrarian constituency here, he said the protest in north India against farm laws was 'instigated' by intermediaries but Stalin could not even explain it.
The AIADMK leader pointed to price volatility in farm markets to buttress his point. During sowing, tomato's market price may be Rs 40 per kilo but at the stage of harvest, the price could fall to even Rs 2 or 3 per kilo, he said.
Considering scenarios such as this, the new laws facilitate purchase of farm produce at prevailing market rates though prices, after ruling high initially could have fallen at the time of harvest, he said.
Also, farmers would get a share if the produce was sold at a higher price. 'What is wrong in it,'? he asked and listed levies and cess (to be borne by farmers including in markets) to the tune of about 8.5 per cent in northern regions of the country.
Seeking to know if it was correct to burden ryots with such taxes, he said while his party opposed taxing farmers, Stalin supported it.
'Stalin does not know anything about farming. Guarding farmers during price fall is the AIADMK government's intention,' he said supporting the farm laws, against which a large number of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at the borders of Delhi for nearly four months.
While the AIADMK government enacted the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020, the DMK ushered in the hydrocarbon project by 'usurping' farmers lands, Palaniswami alleged.
'Stalin is trying to hoodwink people and somehow capture power,' he added.
Blaming DMK over issues including Cauvery, he accused Stalin of keeping in mind the interests of of his family alone and not that of the people.
He also listed his government's initiatives like 2,000 Amma Clinics and 7.5 per cent reservation to government school students in medical admissions, who clear National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test.
At another campaign location, he mocked at Stalin for collecting petitions from the public and placing it in a box in this e-age when the government had already been implementing effective grievance redressal mechanisms.
By calling toll free number --1100-- people could lodge their complaints from anywhere. Also, authorities have addressed grievances flagged in 5.22 lakh petitions out of 9.77 lakh received by ministers, MLAs, and district collectors, he said.
Alleging that the DMK was an unruly outfit, the CM said it would not allow anyone to live in peace.
Seeking votes for party candidate fielded from Cuddalore constituency, M C Sampath (Industries Minister), he said 'after Amma's government is formed again,' every household would get a washing machine and the 100-day rural employment scheme shall be increased to 150 days.
Commodities distributed through Public Distribution Outlets would be door-delivered and every family shall get a financial assistance of Rs 1,500 per month, he said, highlighting the key assurances in the AIADMK manifesto. PTI VGN VS VS