Opposition leaders meet President, urge him to ask government to concede farmers’ demands

Opposition leaders meet President, urge him to ask government to concede farmers’ demands

NEW DELHI: A delegation of five opposition leaders urged President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday to ask the government not to be “obdurate” over the farmers’ stir against the new agriculture laws and accept the demands of the farm unions.
The delegation comprised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, NCP veteran Sharad Pawar, CPI’s D Raja and DMK’s TKS Elangovan. After the meeting with the President, Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday the government should not harbour misconceptions that protesting farmers will capitulate and promised the support of the opposition. “They have understood that if they succumb, they will have no future in Hindustan. I am telling farmers, do not feel scared, no one can push you back. You are Hindustan,” he said.
“The farm bills were passed without discussion with opposition or farmers and are an insult to the farm community. That is why lakhs of them are on the streets, protesting non-violently. Government should know they will neither retreat or be cowed down.”
Yechury referred to the farmers’ strike as “heroic and historic”, adding that the government should repeal the agriculture laws and withdraw the electricity amendment bill. Pawar said the delegation, representing the support and sentiments of over 20 political parties, conveyed to the President that the laws should be discussed and be sent to a select committee.
“Bills were passed in a hurry. That is the reason for the reaction from the farm community. Political parties are not involved directly in these protests. But farmers realise that these bills are not protecting their interests. Even MSP is not mentioned in the bill, which is disturbing. It is the duty of the government to listen,” Pawar said.
CPI chief D Raja said the laws will put farmers at the mercy of big corporates, while Elangovan said the Modi government had reneged on its promise in Parliament two years ago that the Swaminathan Committee report would be implemented in total. “We are not against agricultural reforms. But these laws are against farmers,” he said.

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