Farm Bills: It is an assault on farmers, says Surjewala

Mr. Surjewala warned that the Narendra Modi-led government’s new farm bills would lead to an eventual dismantling of the APMC structure in the country

The Congress party organized a farmers’ meet in Mandya on Saturday, highlighting their fight against the farm bills of the BJP government at the Centre and in the State.

While All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala, who addressed the gathering of farmers, accused the BJP government of launching ‘an assault on the farmers’, who he called the ‘soul of India’, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the Congress will return to power in the State and the Centre and withdraw the anti-farmer laws that threatened to push the farmers into an abyss.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief D.K. Shivakumar said the meet had been organised to send the voice of the farmers from Mandya to the national capital. He called upon the farmers to participate in the country-wide signature campaign through which Congress leader Sonia Gandhi plans to highlight the farmers’ woes to President Ram Nath Kovind.

Mr. Surjewala warned that the Narendra Modi-led government’s new farm bills would lead to an eventual dismantling of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) structure in the country, deny the farmers the minimum support price and bring them under the control of a handful capitalists.

During the last three years, the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane had been increased by only ₹10 from the earlier ₹275 to ₹285. When the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government was in power in the Centre, the FRP had been increased from ₹117 to ₹220, he said.

He lashed out at the B.S. Yediyurappa government in Karnataka for amending to the Karnataka State Land Reforms Act, paving the way for agricultural land to be purchased by land sharks.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said he raised the anti-farmer laws brought in by the State government in the Legislative Assembly, but his opposition fell on the deaf ears of the BJP government. He called upon the farmers to mobilise themselves against the Bills and force the government to withdraw them.

Mr. Shivakumar said the ‘anti-farmer and anti-labour’ Bills of the State government had been defeated in the Legislative Council and thanked the members of the Legislative Council for the concern they had shown the farmers and the working class.

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