Delhi Assembly passes resolution rejecting farm laws

The Delhi Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution, “rejecting” the three farm laws, which said that the laws should be “repealed” by the Central government. 

Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the Central government to not become “worse than Britishers” who ruled India, and said the farmer laws were made to “fund” the BJP’s election campaigns.

Also read: Farmers have constitutional right to continue with protest: SC

“More than 20 farmers have been martyred in the protest. I want to ask the Central government, how many more lives will you take before you listen to the farmers of the country? Each farmer has become a Bhagat Singh at the protest site. These [agricultural] laws are not made for farmers, but for funding for the BJP to fight elections,” Mr. Kejriwal said, and later tore up copies of the farm laws inside the Assembly. 

Meanwhile, BJP MLAs opposed the resolution and Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA Ramvir Bidhuri said that the BJP had won multiple elections after the farm laws were notified, which was because of the laws. He also attacked the Delhi government for notifying one of the three farm laws in Delhi.

Also read: Farmers’ protest | Protests continue amid stalemate over farm laws

“Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government on November 23, 2020 notified one of the three farm laws [in Delhi]. And said that they will discuss the other two. If it’s a black law, then why did you notify it? We request a clarification on this from the Chief Minister,” Mr. Bidhuri said in the Assembly. 

The point was raised later in the day by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who called Mr. Kejriwal a “chameleon”, and indulging in “opportunistic politics”.

Also read: First time in decades laws framed to benefit farmers, workers: PM Modi

The special one-day session of the Assembly on Thursday was extended to Friday as Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had to adjourn the Assembly early because of protests by AAP MLAs inside the house demanding “repeal of the black laws”. 

AAP MLAs later burnt copies of the “anti-farmer” laws outside the Assembly. 

The resolution 

The resolution to repeal the laws was introduced in the Assembly by AAP leader and Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.

Also read: Govt. talks to breakaway leaders as farmers hold hunger strikes

“This house rejects all the three enactments and earnestly appeals to the Government of India that in the interest of the nation, the farm laws passed by the Parliament may be repealed with immediate effect and a separate Bill guaranteeing government purchase of all crops at MSP (minimum support price) be passed by the Parliament and all other demands be accepted,” Mr. Gahlot read out the resolution. 

Multiple AAP leaders attacked the BJP over the farm laws. “Twelve farmers have died so far [during the protests]. When farmers left Punjab and Haryana, they had asked for permission to protest at Ramlila Maidan. If the Central government had given permission, then 12 farmers would not have died. If farmers protest at Ramlila Maidan, would it be an insult to the Constitution? [Would it be an] insult to Modi-ji or the BJP? It won’t. If Delhi’s borders are sealed today, only the BJP is responsible for it,” AAP leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said during the discussion.

Concluding the discussion, Mr. Kejriwal said, “First, I pay tribute to the martyrdom of Baba Ram Singh-ji. Even today, there are still people, who for other people, community, nation and farmers, can make such a supreme sacrifice. In the letter, he said he could not [bear to] see farmers’ pain.”

Baba Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide and left a note.

The Chief Minister said that a similar movement called the ‘’Pagdi Sambhal Jatta’ happened in Punjab in 1907 during the British rule. “The movement was also against three laws of the British. The movement against the Britishers, which saw a massive crowd, was led by the farmers for nine whole months. The British government had suggested some amendments in the laws and, in the end, the Britishers had to repeal the three laws. Don’t be worse than Britishers and respect the independence we have achieved, they took their laws back in nine months and you should take it back sooner,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

​Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-4076 9002 (10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., Monday-Saturday). 

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