NEW DELHI: Amid the ”Bharat Bandh” called by the farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws, the leaders from different political parties will meet President Ram Nath Kovind to discuss the contentious laws and express their concerns about it.
This was announced by NCP president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday. Opposition parties are expected to meet Kovind on Wednesday evening to discuss the three farm laws enacted by the Centre. Importantly, the farmer union leaders will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the evening today.
Pawar’s NCP is among the parties that have backed Tuesday ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by farmers’ unions. “Leaders from different political parties (those opposing the farm bills) will sit, discuss and take a collective stand on the contentious farm laws before meeting President Ram Nath Kovind,” Pawar told reporters.
On Monday, the BJP said Pawar, who was agriculture minister in the UPA government, had asked states to amend the APMC Act and had even warned them that the Centre will not provide financial assistance in absence of the three reforms.
It also cited letters written by Pawar during his tenure as agriculture minister to buttress the point. The NCP said after taking over as Union agriculture minister, Pawar had tried to form a broader consensus amongst state agriculture marketing boards by inviting suggestions for the implementation of the act.
“The benefit of farmers as per the model APMC Act was explained (by Pawar) to various state governments and many state governments came forward to implement it. Farmers across the country are gaining from the implementation of the act which was fine-tuned by Pawar to protect farmers’ interests,” the party had said.
On Tuesday, Pawar met Defence Rajnath Singh and the discussions were believed to be held pertaining to land acquisition for the Purandar airport in Pune district.
Meanwhile, ahead of the sixth round of talks scheduled on Wednesday, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy on Tuesday declared that the Narendra Modi government is ready for “MSP and Mandi Act (APMC Act)”.
The Minister said that the central government`s first priority is Minimum Support Price (MSP) and that it will also focus on Mandis in coming days.
Reddy ensured that the government doesn`t follow two different opinions on the issue and is committed for the welfare of the farmers who have been protesting on Delhi borders for over 13 days.
“We are ready for MSP and Mandi Act. These two points are our government`s priority. Our government`s first priority is MSP. We will also run Mandis in the coming days. There are no two opinions on these issues,” Reddy said at Krishi Bhawan.
MSP is a form of market intervention by the government to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices. MSP is price fixed by government to protect the producer or farmer against excessive fall in price during bumper production years.
There is the fear that MSP will not be enforced once private mandis come up. Thus, the farmers seeking amendment of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act or Mandi Act.