Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who was the Union Agriculture Minister for 10 years in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, on Saturday posted a critique of the new farm laws that have fuelled widespread protests and turmoil over the last two months.
In a series of tweets, the 80-year-old veteran politician, whose party commands a significant share of the agrarian vote in Maharashtra, said the new central laws will adversely affect the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and weaken the mandi system.
Mr Pawar’s assessment comes amid escalating tensions between the government and farmers protesting the laws that peaked on Republic Day after violent clashes with the police as sections of their massive tractor parade strayed off agreed routes.
It was also seen as a counter to the BJP which has been attacking the opposition Congress and its allies like the NCP for their support to the farmers’ movement, claiming that similar reforms had been planned for years before Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office.
Mr Pawar said he virtually participated in the all-party meeting with PM Modi in which issues related to the proposed agenda for the budget session, farmers’ agitation, women’s bill and other important issues were discussed.