Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi at the parliament complex, amid opposition attacks on the government in both houses over the farmers’ protest against the three central agriculture laws.
The ruling BJP and the opposition led by the Congress on Friday clashed in parliament over the laws against which thousands of farmers have been protesting in and around the national capital. While the Congress demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Republic Day violence – when thousands of farmers on tractors had barged into the national capital and clashed with the police – the government defended the laws and said it has had several meetings with farmers’ unions to resolve the deadlock.
Congress MP Anand Sharma, backing the farmers over their demand to repeal the laws, blamed the government for the situation.
“Indian economic growth was sluggish before the COVID-19 affected the country. The situation worsened after the pandemic hit the nation, especially due to lockdown which resulted in many job losses. The government is responsible for this situation,” he said.
Mr Sharma condemned the attacks on the police and the hoisting of a religious flag at Red Fort during the January 26 violence.
His party colleague Partap Singh Bajwa demanded the setting up of a committee headed by a Supreme Court judge for an impartial probe into the violence.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar claimed the protesting farmers and the opposition have not pointed out any flaws in the laws.
“Farmer unions, opposition parties have failed to point out a single flaw in three new farm laws,” he said in Rajya Sabha, adding that the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are committed to the welfare of farmers.
He claimed that the protests were limited to just one state.
“The world knows that farming is done with water. Only Congress can do farming with blood,” he added.
PM Modi is expected to respond to the opposition in Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Farmers fear the laws would result in the lowering of their income and the edging out of the traditional crop markets, which – they say – will leave them at the mercy of rich corporate houses. The government argues that the laws will increase the income by allowing farmers more avenues to sell their crops and eliminating the role of middlemen.