Accusing the opposition of false propaganda against the new agri-marketing legislation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday claimed that those who had made laws for bringing in foreign firms are now creating a scare among farmers over local companies.
While laying the foundation stone for a statue of warrior-king Suheldev in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich, PM Modi also said his government is trying to rectify the mistakes of the earlier regimes that had failed to honour deserving leaders.
Addressing the event through video conference, the Prime Minister defended the new farm laws, saying the reforms will “benefit the small and marginal farmers”.
“Farmers themselves have begun exposing those involved in false propaganda about them,” he said.
His remarks come amid weeks of protests at the borders of Delhi by farmers who say the new laws will throw them at the mercy of big private companies, which will set their own price for farm produce.
But the Modi government says the new laws only give farmers the option of selling their crops to private companies, and government agencies will continue to buy them as before.
The Prime Minister said farmers in Uttar Pradesh have been getting encouraging results after the enactment of the new laws.
“The entire country has seen that those who made laws for bringing in foreign companies in the farm sector are now scaring farmers in the name of local companies, he said, without elaborating.
The BJP has in the past claimed that other parties too had advocated similar farm reforms in the past, but failed to implement them.
Those who spoke lies and carried out false propaganda for politics are now being exposed, he said.
He unveiled beautification projects in Shravasti and Bahraich, honouring the 11th century king who is an icon of the state’s Rajbhar community.
Though Maharaja Suheldev’s bravery has not found place in history books, he has always been in the hearts of people through the folklore of Awadh, Terai and Purvanchal, he said. PM Modi hailed his image as a development-oriented and sensitive ruler.
In his 30-minute speech, the Prime Minister accused the previous governments of not honouring leaders like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and BR Ambedkar.
He said the history of India is not just what has been written by those with a slave mentality. It is also imbibed by common people through ‘lok gathas’, or folklore.
As the country enters the 75th year of its Independence, it is time to remember their contribution and take inspiration from them, he added.
It is unfortunate that those who committed their lives to saving Bharat and ‘Bharatiyata’ were not given the place they deserved, he said, adding that India today is rectifying the injustice done to those who created history.
He asked if Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who was the first head of the Azad Hind government, or his Azad Hind Fauj’s contribution, were given their due recognition.
He recalled Sardar Patel’s contribution in incorporating the princely states into the Union, adding that what was done to his legacy is known to every child in the country.
On BR Ambedkar, Prime Minister Modi said his contribution was also only looked through the political prism. But now from India to England, all places connected with Ambedkar are being developed as panch teerth, or pilgrimage spots.
The projects launched in Bahraich include the construction of a 4.20-metre high statue of Suheldev, who is said to have killed Ghaznavid general Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud in a battle on the banks of the Chittora lake in Bahraich in 1033.
Also planned is the development of tourist amenities including a cafeteria, a guesthouse and a children’s park there.
PM Modi inaugurated a medical college in Bahraich named after the legendary rules.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attended the event.
After coming to power, the Modi government has taken several steps to honour Suheldev.
Before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Prime Minister released a postage stamp in his memory and flagged off a train named after him.
Earlier, in February 2016, then BJP chief Amit Shah unveiled a statue of Suheldev and launched a book on him.
The Rajbhar community constitutes a significant percentage of the Purvanchal electorate, and is being wooed by political parties ahead of the assembly polls about a year away.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)