Cong: Not against farm reforms, but new laws don't reflect those changes
New Delhi: Demanding that the Centre scrap the three farm laws by convening a special session of Parliament, the Congress Tuesday said it was not against farm sector reforms, but the ones brought in through these legislations did not reflect changes.
Senior Congress leader and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said agriculture reforms should be discussed afresh in Parliament and new laws enacted after consulting all stakeholders.
His assertions came even as farmers observed a 'Bharat bandh' on Tuesday to press for their demand of repealing the three laws. Hooda also said the Minimum Support Price mechanism needs to be incorporated in the law because it is a must to protect the interests of farmers. He alleged the farm laws brought in by the Centre were passed without any consultation with farmers, and that the government pushed them through as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the country.
"The government should immediately withdraw these acts. If they want reforms, they should call Parliament, discuss it and then implement it and take all stakeholders into confidence. While passing these acts, nobody was consulted. During Corona period they were passed in Parliament without discussion and stakeholders were not taken into confidence," he told a press conference.
"We are not against reforms but the current laws must be repealed and a fresh reform process initiated after discussion and consultations with all stakeholders," he said.
Hooda also asked as to why the government did not agree to the opposition demand of bringing another law to punish those buying farm produce below the MSP.
The Congress leader said let the private investment come, but farmers' interest should be protected at all costs. The former CM also brushed aside the BJP's charge that the Congress was fuelling the agitation and said no political party is leading this agitation. "We are supporting farmers' demand. I am not leading, no party is leading. Now all parties are supporting, because that is their genuine demand. It needs to be maintained."
He also claimed the BJP-led Haryana government has lost the trust of the people and of the assembly as it "mishandled" the farmers' agitation and, therefore, it should face a vote of no confidence.
"I have written a letter to the governor asking him to call a special and emergency session of the assembly to discuss this issue, law and order in this situation because this Haryana government has lost the confidence of the people as well as the assembly," Hooda said.
He said some MLAs are doing "double-talk" as on the one hand they are supporting farmers and issuing statements while on the other hand they are part of this BJP government. "The mechanism to expose them would be only no confidence motion. So, the day the governor calls the assembly session, the same day, we will come with the no confidence motion," he said.
Hooda also stressed that the Congress manifesto in 2019 promising abolition of the APMC Act was being "misrepresented" by the BJP.
"We had promised to create procurement centres and mandis nearby farmers' areas. We created such mandis and centres, some even in my own village in Haryana which has a small population of 10,000," he said.