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Farm Bills will lead to famine, says CM; seeks 'greater alliance'

New Delhi: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday spoke to the eight Rajya Sabha MPs who have been suspended from Parliament over the protests against the farm Bills and appreciated their efforts towards "upholding the values of Parliament".

The MPs, who are now holding a protest against their suspension along with Opposition lawmakers from across parties, were suspended a day after the Upper House witnessed unprecedented unruly scenes during the passage of the two crucial farm Bills.

The Chief Minister spoke to the MPs for a good 10 minutes and appreciated their efforts in fighting against farmer Bills, labour Bills and upholding the values of Parliament, a senior Trinamool Congress leader said.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee, who condemned the government for its action, came down heavily on the BJP, alleging the party is making an all-out effort to make states powerless and itself all-powerful.

She also alleged that the two Bills passed in Rajya Sabha would deprive farmers of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and will lead to famine in the country. Banerjee urged all Opposition parties to come together and fight these Bills tooth and nail.

"Even as the country is reeling under COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre is trying to create famine through these farm Bills," she claimed while addressing a press conference.

"The Centre has done nothing to control the price rise of essential commodities. It is bulldozing these two anti-farmer legislation. These Bills will lead to a food crisis as farmers will not get MSP," Banerjee said.

She also tweeted on Monday: "Suspension of the 8 MPs who fought to protect farmers interests is unfortunate & reflective of this autocratic Govt's mindset that doesn't respect democratic norms & principles. We won't bow down & we'll fight this fascist Govt in Parliament & on the streets. #BJPkilledDemocracy."

Regarding the passage of the Bills, Banerjee said: "The Bills were forcibly passed despite the low attendance of BJP MPs. The BJP did not have the numbers and that is why it suspended the MPs from various parties to pass its anti-farmer Bills and anti-labour Bills."

During a press meet in Kolkata on Monday, she added: "The BJP is a shame for the country. Shame, shame BJP for the way you have grabbed farmers' rights."

She further said: "I think there is an immediate need for an alliance against the Centre which has passed the contentious Bills in a 'Hitler style'. We don't have any problem if someone else takes the lead. I assure the support of the TMC, even if we have to stand in the last line, in this stir for the sake of farmers."

Claiming that the Bills will also lead to black marketing and encourage the 'racketeer' and 'tout' culture in agriculture, the TMC president said: "Yesterday was a 'Black Sunday'. We are all struggling with the pandemic and now they passed the Bills which will further push weaker sections of society towards darkness. The Coronavirus is already there and now the BJP government at the Centre is pushing us towards 'marona' (go and die)."

All the party's district and block-level presidents have been asked to reach out farmers and create awareness about the Centre's "anti-farmer" policies, she said.

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