New Delhi (IANS): Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi while replying to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, said that the MSP will continue and so will the monthly ration scheme for 80 crore people, the Congress said there was no substance in his speech and he only tried to mislead the people.
Earlier in the day, Modi said, “The agri-reforms should be given a chance and MSP was very much there and will continue in the future and I in the House also say that the ration scheme to 80 crore [800 million] will continue.”
He said the objections in the House to the farm laws were procedural and even the opposition accepts that the country needs agri reforms. He quoted former Prime Ministers Charan Singh and Manmohan Singh on this: “Manmohan Singh ji is here, I would read out his quote for those taking a u-turn on the farm laws and will perhaps agree with him. ‘There are other rigidities because of the marketing regime set up in the 1930s which prevent our farmers from selling their produce where they get the highest rate of return’. This is what Manmohan Singhji said.”
Speaking to media persons outside Parliament, Congress Rajya Sabha member Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We expected that he would discuss something on three farm laws over which the farmers are protesting for the last 75 days.”
He said that the Congress expected that the Prime Minister after looking at the agitation of the farmers will repeal the farm laws and will then speak to the stakeholders to bring new fresh laws in Parliament. “But he did not discuss anything like that,” Kharge said.
Slamming the Prime Minister, the Congress leader said, “He (Modi) said that they are protesting without knowing what is there in the three farm laws. Can it happen like this? Farmers who till their lands and all the opposition parties know everything about the three farm laws.”
Kharge said that the Congress has given a pamphlet to the government on the farmers issue.
“But the Prime Minister ignored all the facts. He rejected concerns of farmers, graduates and scientists saying nobody knows anything. He is misleading the people by saying that nobody knows what is there in the three farm laws,” he said.
Firing salvos at the government, Kharge said, “Are we all fools? And are all the farmers sitting on protest fools?”
The Congress leader added that the Prime Minister refuted the opposition claims saying that they don’t know anything about the three farm laws.
He described the Prime Minister’s reply in the Rajya Sabha as a political speech.
Speaking on the Covid-19 pandemic, Kharge said that Modi also spoke about the pandemic.
“On February 2 this year, I have asked clearly in Parliament whether it is a fact that Covid related deaths per million in India are much higher than other south Asian countries. And the government’s reply to that was that for the questions ‘A to C’ Yes.”
“We don’t talk without substance, it is their written reply,” he said.
Kharge informed that according to a survey, out of 94 countries India is placed at 84.
“He misleads the people in his own style. He did not speak about how the issues of farmers will be resolved. We think that Prime Minister would speak on the farmers issue but he did not speak on that and we condemn that,” Kharge added.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also slammed the Prime Minister over his new FDI (Foreign Destructive Ideology) remarks and said, “In Parliament today, Prime Minister Modi said that FDI is also ‘Foreign Destructive Ideology’. This from someone whose governance has been based solely on FDI – Fear, Deception, Intimidation.”
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill in a tweet said, “Prime Minister says “MSP tha, hai or rahega” – then why don’t give the same in written in the form of a law Mr Prime Minister? Also write that the private companies cannot buy the farmers produce below the MSP. Farmers cannot trust Prime Minister’s speech because they know difference between law and lofty speeches.”