'Amendments to be made if new farm laws not found beneficial'
New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday appealed to farmers to try the three new farm laws as an "experiment" for a year or two and in case they are found not beneficial for the farming community, the government will do all necessary amendments.
Describing the protesting farmers as his own people, Singh said, "Those who are sitting on dharna are farmers and are born to farmers' families. We have a lot of respect for them."
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are camping on Delhi borders for almost a month in protest against the three laws enacted in September.
At least five rounds of talks have taken place between the protesting unions and the government but a stalemate has continued with farmers refusing to accept anything less than the repeal of the laws, which they fear would leave them at the mercy of corporates by weakening mandi and MSP systems.
The government has allayed these apprehensions as misplaced and has projected the new laws as major agriculture reforms aimed at helping the farmers.
Addressing a rally at Dwarka in the national capital, Singh said he himself is a farmers' son and assured that the Modi government "will never do anything which is not in the interest of the farmers".
"People are trying to mislead farmers about these farm laws that they are not in their interest. I am the son of a farmer and have worked in farms. I want to assure you that there is not a single provision in these laws which is against farmers," Singh said at the rally organised as part of the ruling BJP's massive outreach programme on the farm laws.
He reiterated that the minimum support price (MSP) will continue and some people are trying to create a misconception that it will end.
Requesting farmers to try the new agri laws for a year or two as an experiment, the former BJP president said if these are not found beneficial, the government would bring all necessary amendments.
"For once let this act (acts) be implemented, for a year or two... Try this experiment and if you feel that this act (acts) is not in the interest of farmers, then I can say you this with conviction as I know the intention of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi we will do all necessary amendments in it," Singh said.
Underlining that all problems can be resolved through dialogue, Singh said Prime Minister Modi wants the talks with farmers to continue, and therefore, the government has extended an invitation to them.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Friday said no corporate can snatch away any farmer's land as long as Narendra Modi is Prime Minister of the country, and asserted that the provision of MSP will continue and mandis will not be shut down.
Addressing a gathering in Kishangarh village in the national capital, Shah said if farmer organisations felt that any provision of the three new farm laws is against their interests, the Modi government was ready to discuss and consider the same with an open mind.
Shah blamed the Opposition, including Congress, for spreading lies about the minimum support price (MSP) and other provisions of the farm laws.
"The Opposition is speaking brazen lies. I again reiterate that the MSP will continue and the mandis will not be closed. Farmers' welfare is the top-most priority of the Modi government," Shah asserted.
The years-old demand of one and half times MSP on crops has been implemented by the Modi government during 2014-19, he said.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday alleged that "some" farmers protesting against the recently enacted Central laws were misguided by their "political masters" and that they were painting a picture as if farmers across the country were with them.
Lashing out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of the farm laws, Javadekar said "he appears (in public) once in a fortnight" and challenged him for an open debate on the central legislations.
Ryots in India are happy with the farm laws and other pro-farmer initiatives such as the PM Kisan scheme, the minister for Environment and Information said.
Union minister Smriti Irani launched a scathing attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday, accusing him of "lying and misleading" farmers over the Centre's recent farm laws.
Addressing a farmers' rally in her parliamentary constituency Amethi, Irani said, "Rahul Gandhi is telling lies and misleading farmers."
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said the ongoing agitation is a living monument of the BJP government's failure.
In a tweet in Hindi, Yadav said, "The protest against the farm laws is completing a month today. For the benefit of their dear rich friends and corporate sponsors, the BJP is trading a path which is against all -- farmers, labourers, middle and lower classes. The farmer protest is a living monument of the BJP government's failure."