Union ministers defend farm laws; DMK, allies stage hunger strike

Union ministers defend farm laws; DMK, allies stage hunger strike

New Delhi/Jaipur/ Chennai: Slamming Opposition leaders for their stance against the new farm laws, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has alleged that "failed political players" who have been rejected repeatedly by the people are acting under their "depression of defeat" and "misleading" the farmers.

The Minority Affairs Minister also lashed out at Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that the Congress leader was "posing" as a farmers' leader despite knowing little about farming, while the Delhi chief minister was "karne mein zero, dharne mein hero (zero in work, but hero in sit-ins)".

Farmers throughout the country are satisfied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked for their empowerment and interests after coming to power, Naqvi said.

The farmers' issue involves Minimum Support Price (MSP), kisaan mandis and protection of farmers' land and the government has given a 100 per cent guarantee on the three fronts, he said.

Naqvi asserted that neither the MSP will go, nor the mandis and there was no threat to farmers' lands.

The "Modi bashing brigade" instead of talking about issues of farmers, has started abusing Modi, he said, adding that questions arose with the entry of these "traditional Modi bashers".

On farmers' issues, the government has always believed in talks not 'takraav' (confrontation), Naqvi asserted.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri accused the Congress on Friday of spreading "canards" over the recent farm laws and "instigating" protests, while taking a swipe at the party on the absence of many of its members in the Rajya Sabha when these bills were passed.

"Even their senior leader, Rahul Gandhi, was vacationing abroad when the voting took place. The party is clearly imploding. It should rather bother about holding its remnants together than stoking fire in the country," Puri said in tweets.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday asked the central government to focus on resolving its standoff with farmers over three farm laws and keep other issues on hold.

He claimed that be it the judiciary or bureaucracy, all are functioning under pressure from the Centre.

Addressing a state-level function to mark the second anniversary of his dispensation, Gehlot alleged that government agencies like the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department were being misused.

In Tamil Nadu, the DMK-led opposition on Friday embarked on a day-long hunger strike in support of farmers protesting against the three farm laws enacted by the Centre recently, demanding the contentious legislations be repealed.

While DMK president M K Stalin led the fast at Valluvar Kottam here, Puducherry Chief Minister and Congress veteran V Narayanasamy headed the agitation in the neighbouring union territory.

Farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting outside Delhi for over three weeks against the central legislations, demanding that they be repealed.

Stalin said the opposition bloc was extending solidarity to farmers who were taking forward the protests to "protect their life", even as he questioned the 'haste' with which the laws were enacted.

He termed the farm laws as "anti-people" and against the ryots.

"Farmers have been protesting (outside Delhi) for 23 days as of today. We have been extending our support to them through various protests but today's hunger strike has been undertaken to express solidarity on behalf of the Secular Progressive Alliance," Stalin, also Tamil Nadu Leader of Opposition, said in his address.

The DMK-led coalition in the state is known as the Secular Progressive Alliance and had faced the 2019 Lok Sabha polls under this banner.

Lashing out at the BJP-led Centre, Stalin questioned the 'haste' in enacting the laws during the COVID-19 pandemic and also hit out at the union government over its labour reforms and the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) among others.

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