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Bengal Assembly passes resolution against farm laws

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave an ultimatum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he should either repeal the contentious farm laws or step down. Banerjee's clarion call came while speaking in favour of the resolution demanding the repeal of three farm laws passed by the Centre that was tabled by state Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee.

"It is for the greater interest of the people, I shall ask the Prime Minister to withdraw these three Bills suo moto. You will have to withdraw these three laws, either repeal them or step down from the government," said Banerjee.

She also demanded an all-party meeting on these three anti-farmer laws. "The people of the country will stand tall against branding the farmers as traitors or Khalistani. During Covid you had conducted many virtual meetings. Call for a virtual meeting again for the greater interest of the people," she added.

Banerjee urged the Congress and the Left to come together and show solidarity to the farmers' protest. The Left and Congress legislators suggested amendments to the resolution tabled by the state but did not oppose the resolution. Comparing it with the indigo cultivation in the country, Banerjee claimed that these laws will push the country towards another famine.

"You have brought the Bills when people couldn't even go to Parliament because of Covid. You have passed the Bill through ordinance, you even didn't allow a division," the Chief Minister stated.

Banerjee claimed that the Delhi Police "mishandled" the tractor parade by the farmers that resulted in the situation spiraling out of control on Republic Day as protesters clashed with police in parts of Delhi.

"Delhi Police are to be blamed for that. What were they doing? It was a complete intelligence failure. We will not tolerate farmers being branded as traitors or terrorists. They are the assets of this nation," she said.

The national Capital witnessed widespread violence on Republic Day after the farmers who took out a tractor rally that deviated from the approved route and marched towards Parliament House in Central Delhi.

Expressing her apprehension that the farm laws may create a situation when the country will be reeling under severe food crisis she maintained that the saffron party's introduction of the agri laws is aimed at benefitting corporate groups.

"A corporate company had already completed setting up of a godown for storage of commodities keeping everybody in the dark and then the laws were passed," she claimed. Banerjee demanded that the centre should waive agricultural loan. "If you could waive corporate loan then you must do the same in case of agriculture loan," she said.

As soon as the resolution was tabled, BJP MLAs rushed to the Well of the House, led by their legislative party leader Manoj Tigga to protest and later walked out of the Assembly chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'.

So far, five non-BJP-ruled states — Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Delhi — have passed resolutions in their respective assemblies against the contentious laws.

Trinamool Congress MLAs Rajib Banerjee, Baishali Dalmiya, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Prabir Ghosal were not present in the Assembly on Thursday.

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