New Delhi: Parliament is set to witness high political drama on Sunday as the Rajya Sabha is likely to take up the contentious farm bills. The Congress as well as many opposition parties have termed the agriculture-related bills “anti-farmer and pro-corporate” and they are trying to put a united front to oppose these proposed legislations. As per reports, the ruling BJP has also reached out to several regional outfits for support. Also Read - Kulgam Killing: Coward Pakistanis Will Pay Heavy Price, Each of Them Will be Neutralised, Says J&K BJP Chief
Here are the top points from this big story: Also Read - 3 Local BJP Leaders Killed by Militants in Kashmir’s Kulgam, Resistance Front Claims Responsibility
1) Some key BJP leaders are said to be in touch with various non-Congress opposition parties to seek support from their Rajya Sabha members for these bills. While the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is yet to have a clear majority of its own in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, many regional parties have backed it for the last several sessions to ensure passage of various legislations proposed by the government. Also Read - Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel Passes Away at 92, PM Modi Mourns His Death
2) BJP leaders expressed confidence that they will get the support of over 130 members, including nine of the AIADMK and six of the YSR Congress — both of whom are not part of the ruling alliance if a division of votes is sought on these bills.
3) Another regional party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) was also being wooed by the BJP, but its chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday asked his party MPs to vote against these bills, alleging these would cause great injustice to farmers in the country.
4) The three members of the SAD are sure to vote against the bills, but Shiv Sena, a former BJP ally and now in opposition, has expressed it support for these bills. The Maharashtra party has three members in Rajya Sabha.
5) Several other regional parties, including three-member Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party with eight seats, and BSP with four, have joined the opposition’s ranks in protest against these bills but it may not prove enough to hinder their passage.
6) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forceful defence of the three bills and blistering criticism of the Opposition for protesting against them on Thursday made it clear that he remains unfazed by the opposition and that his government will press on to get Parliament’s nod for these measures aimed at opening private avenues for farmers to sell their produce.
7) Farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against these proposed laws which, their leaders allege, will end up dismantling the existing government-backed support system they have.
Farm bills and the controversy:
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday, while the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill was passed on Tuesday.
The bills seek to deregulate the sale of agricultural produce to ensure better prices for the farmers. But many farm organisations and opposition parties say they are a step towards dismantling the minimum support price (MSP) regime.
With opposition parties dubbing the three bills as “anti-farmers” and the SAD quitting his government to protest them, Modi refuted their criticism, describing these proposed laws as “historic” and stating that they will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere at a better price.
A day after resigning from Union Cabinet, senior SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said she feels “saddened” that her voice in support of farmers was not heard and demanded that the government should pause on these legislations by referring them to a parliamentary panel for wider consultations.
The government has presented these bills as pro-farmers, saying these will ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce and do not get subjected to regulations of ‘mandis’.
However, opposition parties have slammed the bills as “anti-farmers”, claiming that the agriculture sector will be left to the fate of corporate interests.
(With agency inputs)