Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu today asked his party’s government in Punjab to buy crop at Minimum Support Price to provide relief to the farmers. Mr Sidhu, who was sharing the stage with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, pointed out that apple farmers in Himachal Pradesh were provided similar relief.
“If Himachal Pradesh can purchase apples why can’t we purchase crops, why can’t we give them MSP?” Mr Sidhu said.
The Congress leader termed the enactment of farm laws an “attack on federal structure” by the central government
Earlier, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi participated in the protest and promised farmers that his party will remove the contentious farm sector laws once it comes to power in the Centre. Calling Minimum Support Price, food procurement and wholesale markers the “three pillars” of the country, Mr Gandhi said “Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to destroy this system”.
“Their (the BJP’s) only aim is to destroy MSP and food procurement… The Congress is never going to let this government to do it,” he added, flagging off the three-day tractor rally by farmers in Punjab.
The “Kheti Bachao Yatra” ( March to protect the agricultural sector) is aimed to highlight the Congress stand against the laws that were cleared by the parliament last month amid fiery protests by the opposition.
Farmers and the opposition claim the new laws — which enable them to sell produce to corporates anywhere in the country — lays them open to exploitation by big companies. They also say with the entry of private players into the agricultural sector, they will not get even the Minimum Support Price for their produce.
The protests against the two laws are the loudest in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, the grain bowl of the country. The vehemence of their protests has cost the BJP an ally ~CHECK~ the Shiromani Akali Dal, which walked out of the government and the NDA last month.