Prime Minister Narendra Modi, strongly defending laws that have triggered massive farmer protests near Delhi, said he was ready “with folded hands” to discuss every issue and assuage concerns.
“If anyone has any concerns, then with our heads bowed, our hands folded, with humility, we are willing to allay their fears,” PM Modi said, addressing farmers in Madhya Pradesh via video. He also said talk about MSP or Minimum Support Prices ending with the new laws “is the biggest lie ever”.
PM Modi said agricultural reforms were discussed for over two decades by every government.
“These laws were not brought in overnight. In past 22 years, every government, state has discussed these in detail. Farmer groups, agricultural experts, economists, scientists and progressive farers have called for reforms. Parties opposing these laws today promised these reforms in their manifestos,” said the PM.
“These parties are pained today. They are asking themselves, what we couldn’t do, how could Modi do? Why should he get credit? My reply to them is – you keep the credit. Even I will give credit to your own manifestos. I don’t want credit. I want farmers’ lives to improve. Stop misleading farmers.”
The Prime Minister’s address was part of the government’s big outreach to farmers amid protests on highways near Delhi over the laws enacted in September.
Emphasizing on the need for reforms, PM Modi said Indian farmers could not lag behind the world in facilities.
“Today I want to expose those who have absolutely no care or genuine concern for you – our anna-daata (farmers). I want to caution all those who are being misled and instigated in the name of these farm laws,” the Prime Minister said.
He referred to the Congress promise during the 2018 polls in states like Madhya Pradesh, to waive farm loans. “What loud and large promises were made before the Madhya Pradesh elections, that if they win, they will write off all the farm loans for every farmer in the state within 10 days. They do nothing but lie and try to use you with promises or by playing on your fears,” he said.
“These people are used to lying, using you for votes.”