Prime Minister Narendra Modi, strongly defending farm laws that have triggered massive protests near Delhi, said today he was ready “with folded hands” to discuss every issue with farmers and allay their fear. He also said any talk about the new laws doing away with MSP or Minimum Support Price for crops “is the biggest lie ever”.
“If anyone has any concerns, then with our heads bowed and our hands folded, with humility, we are willing to discuss with them and assuage their fears,” PM Modi said, addressing farmers in Madhya Pradesh via video as part of the government’s redoubled efforts to reach out to farmers.
The Prime Minister also said though agricultural reforms were discussed for over two decades by every government, the opposition was misleading farmers.
“These laws were not brought in overnight. In past 22 years, every government, state has discussed these in detail. Farmer groups, agricultural experts, economists, scientists and progressive farmers, have called for reforms. Parties opposing these laws today promised these reforms in their manifestos,” said the PM.
“These parties are pained today. They are asking themselves how Modi could achieve what they couldn’t do in all this time. They are worried Modi will get credit. My reply to them is – you keep the credit. I don’t want credit. I only want farmers’ lives to improve. Stop misleading farmers.”
The Prime Minister has, in most of his recent speeches, segued to the farmer crisis and sought to explain that the laws brought by his government are for their good. But in today’s event, he addressed the farmers directly as part of the government’s big outreach amid protests on highways near Delhi by thousands of farmers. Many senior ministers are part of this outreach.
Emphasizing on the need for reforms, PM Modi said Indian farmers must not lag behind the world in facilities.
“Today I want to expose those who have absolutely no care or genuine concern for you – our anna-daata (farmers). I want to caution all those who are being misled and instigated in the name of these farm laws,” the Prime Minister said.