Haryana BJP leaders Parminder Singh Dhull and Rampal Majra on Thursday dubbed the Centre’s farm bills “anti-farmer”, claiming that the apprehensions about the minimum support price were not unfounded.
The two former legislators said many farmer outfits were protesting against the Centre’s farm reforms and their voices should be heard.
“These bills are anti-farmers, anti-people. These reforms will deal a blow to the dreams of Sir Chhotu Ram, considered the messiah of farmers, who wanted to see the peasants prosperous and happy,” Dhull said.
Dhull underlined that at a time economy was adversely affected during the coronavirus pandemic, it was the agriculture sector that gave some hope. “But now, when farmers are protesting against these bills, we should listen to their voice,” he said.
Dhull said he had a meeting with state BJP chief O P Dhankar on Thursday. “I told him (Dhankar) that we should bring another bill, which will guarantee that nobody will procure crop below the MSP,” he said.
“When a farmer will have a guarantee that even if he sells outside or if any private player makes an agreement with him, the MSP will be guaranteed, most of his problems will be solved,” Dhull said.
He said the wholesale market system of Haryana and Punjab were an example for the rest of the country, wondering where would the farmers go if these were weakened.
Asked if he would take part in the ongoing farmers’ agitation, Dhull said being part of protest or not was not the issue.
“But it’s important that we stand shoulder to shoulder with peasants and raise their voice. They need our support,” he said.
Rampal Majra said the apprehension that the MSP would be dismantled was an not exaggeration. “We need to listen to the farmers’ voice and address their concerns regarding these anti-farmer reforms,” he said.
If a private company enters into an agreement with a farmer, nowhere the MSP clause has been put. Farmers also have limited legal remedies in case of dispute and they can approach an area subdivisional magistrate, according to Majra.
“Can a small farmer be expected to fight against a big company in case of a dispute?” he asked.
Majra said when he was in the INLD, even then, he used to raise voice about what he felt was right.
“Now, when I’m in the BJP, it doesn’t mean that I will not raise voice in favour of the farmers. The kind of reforms introduced now have failed in many other countries. We should learn a lesson from them,” Majra said.
Earlier in the day, Dhankar said: “Today, they (Dhull and another leader) had a breakfast with me and appreciated the measures, saying these are in interests of farmers.”
He commenting on reports that a couple of former MLAs, who had switched over to the BJP from the INLD before the Assembly election last year, had expressed some reservations.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by the Parliament earlier this week.
The bills are yet to get the assent of the President.