The Maharashtra government on Wednesday withdrew the order it issued in August to implement the controversial farm laws that are at the centre of a storm in a number of of states. The ruling alliance in the state has been in a dilemma over the farm laws, with Sena allies Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party being firmly opposed to them.
The Congress has been at the forefront of the agitation against the laws, leading farmers’ protests in Punjab and Haryana, the epicenter of the agitation. Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party had opposed farm laws in parliament, calling them “anti-farmer”.
Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat had earlier claimed that the three ruling parties have opposed the bills.
Last week, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar had announced that the state government would not implement the agriculture reform laws. This issue was raised at the cabinet meet today and it was decided to withdraw the order.
The farm bills were enacted in the monsoon session of parliament, before it ended prematurely last week in view of the coronavirus situation.
The laws were pushed through Rajya Sabha amid an uproar, which later snowballed as Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu suspended eight opposition members.
Since then, opposition parties and several farmers’ groups across India have been carrying out protests against the laws.
The government has said the bills will help farmers increase their income and free them from the interference of middlemen. They will also enable farmers to sell produce anywhere in the country and deal directly with big corporations.
Farmers, however, are apprehensive of dealing directly with corporates. They fear that they will not be paid even the Minimum Support Price fixed by the government.
Calling the new system “anti-farmer” they have demanded that the laws be repealed.