Government, BJP firm on farm laws

BJP decides to forge ahead with intensive outreach programme to farmers, explaining advantages of the laws

On a day when the Supreme Court asked the Union government if it was possible to suspend executive action on the three farm related laws till the deadlock with agitating farmers was resolved, the BJP decided to forge ahead with its intensive outreach programme to farmers, explaining the advantages of the laws.

Also Read | Farmers have constitutional right to continue with protest: SC

In a meeting of BJP general secretaries and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, it was decided that an outreach programme, currently under way in several States, would continue. Party president J.P. Nadda, who is down with COVID-19, joined the meeting via web, while Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal were present.

Tomar’s letter to farmers

In fact, it was after this meeting that Mr. Tomar released an emotional, eight page letter addressed to farmers extolling not just the benefits of the laws but also attacking the political Opposition for opposing the laws after having espoused the same reforms in the past.

“Tomarji’s letter is the strategy,” said a senior leader of the BJP, namely that the government was currently firm on the laws and the doublespeak of Opposition parties in agricultural reforms is also exposed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also set to address farmers in Madhya Pradesh via video link on Friday and party leaders say that the government is standing firm on the laws.

Land acquisition ordinance

The shadow of the now scrapped land acquisition ordinance also lies heavy on this issue. It had to be scrapped after several notifications as Opposition had made it unviable politically.

Also read | Voices of protest: what farmers have to say

“This, however, is something that parties like the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have advocated in the past. The Aam Aadmi Party too had this in their Punjab polls manifesto and the Hooda Committee that advocated for such reforms had a senior Akali Dal as member. So it’s not the same situation,” said a senior leader.

“Amit Shahaji took a review of the progress of the programmes so far and spoke about the need to intensify it,” he added.

All this points to the government not having any intention of suspending executive action on the laws as suggested by the Supreme Court.

After a big day in the apex court, it seems both sides, government and farmers groups are sticking to their stands.

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