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Farm laws: Sonia calls for unity, discipline amidst 'worries' of opposition failure

By Our Representative

Close on the heels of the Supreme Court suspending the three farm laws and appointing a four-person committee to open dialogue with the Government of India and farmer leaders for finding a solution to the powerful resistance to them, 10 opposition parties came together on a civil society organisation (CSO) platform to  express unanimous solidarity with the farmers’ struggle for the repeal of the laws.
Speaking at the CSO-sponsored virtual Janta Parliament’s kisan session with political representatives, political leaders agreed that a special Parliament meet should be convened to discuss legalisation of minimum support price (MSP) as well as other aspects of the current agrarian crisis. 
A suggestion was made that two or three days could be set aside during the budget session, starting on January 29, exclusively for this. August last year, CSOs held six virtual Janata Parliament sessions, one of them being on agriculture.  
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who sent a message to the virtual Janta Parliament, insisted on the need for “unity, discipline and commitment” to combat forces that are "inflicting untold suffering on kisans and khet mazdoors" through the three laws. 
Assuring that the Congress would take up the farmers’ issue at the upcoming Parliament session, she said, the Congress-led state assemblies “have already passed laws that reject the farms laws passed by the Central government.” She added, “The Constitution permits this. We will continue to press for their approval according to Constitutional provisions. Undoubtedly, the Prime Minister will place hurdles on our way but we will persevere.”
Commenting on the formation of the Supreme Court committee to open a dialogue on the farm laws, speakers at the Janta Parliament wondered why shouldn’t the government go in for implementing decisions of previous committees. A report already by the Swaminathan Committee already exists. The government needs to implement it report.
K Raju and Rajeev Gowda of the Indian National Congress said,  the party supports the demand for a legal MSP that is backed by procurement. Dipankar Bhattacharya of CPI-ML asserted, there should be repeal and not a pause of the farms laws. He added, the public distribution system must be universalised to ensure food security as well as higher procurement of crops by the government.
D Raja of CPI said that the real purpose of the three farm laws is to serve the corporates. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of the Trinamool Congress underlined, Parliament was undermined while passing the three laws, adding, agriculture is essentially a state subject and these laws intrude upon the states' jurisdiction. 
Journalist-activist P Sainath pleaded for formation of Save Farmer, Save Nation committees to organise ground-level boycott of products by corporates that harm farmers
Prof Manoj K Jha of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), one of the parties that has gone to the Supreme Court over the farm laws, regretted, governments around the world have taken advantage of the pandemic, adding, the opposition parties have not done enough as they have still not got out of their comfort zones to resist the various autocratic measures taken by the government. He announced, on January 30, in Bihar, RJD and other opposition parties will be forming a human chain to oppose the farm laws.
Dr D Ravikumar, MP from the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi party said due to the way that the Parliament was organised during the pandemic, there wasn’t sufficient time to discuss the farm laws, adding, some of them were getting time to address the Parliament at midnight. Ghanshyam Tiwari of the Samajwadi Party added, Amazon and other online marts will soon be selling farmers’ produce along with Adanis and Ambanis at the backend.
Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) said that his party stands with the farmers’ position to not talk to any committee. He asked, if consultations are being held now, what was the need to pass these laws in a truncated session of Parliament without a proper vote? He said that the government – and not any committee – must speak to the farmers and all other stakeholders and then bring any new laws.
Former member of Sonia Gandhi-formed National Advisory Council under UPA-1, Aruna Roy, a Right to Information activist, asked political parties present at the Janta Parliament to spread awareness about the three farm laws via their district level committees, adding, political parties should ask the Gram Sabhas to pass a resolution to repeal the three farm laws on January 26. 
Journalist-activist P Sainath, who specialises on rural issues, pleaded for the formation of ‘Save Farmer, Save Nation’ committees and organise a ground-level boycott of the products by corporates which are directly harming the farmers.

Comments

Anonymous said…
It is difficult to understand how the B team (Sonia bahen) of the BJP is asking for opposition unity

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