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Punjab Farmer Leaders say Centre Must Reply to Demands by Nov 30; SKM Meet on Dec 1

While congratulating farmers for repeal of the 3 laws, Opposition flays government for not allowing discussion on Bill in both Houses.
Farmers Movement

New Delhi: Terming the repeal of the farm laws in Parliament a victory of the protesters, farmer leaders from Punjab demanded a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) of crops and said an emergency meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on December 1 will decide their future course of action.

Referring to their six demands, including legal guarantee for MSP (minimum support price) and withdrawal of cases against farmers and compensation for those who died during the agitation, the leaders of 32 farmer unions from Punjab during a press meet at the Singhu border said on Monday the Centre has time till Tuesday to reply.

Both the Houses of Parliament passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill on the first day of the Winter Session. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 19 that the three farm legislations, against which the farmers have been protesting for over a year, will be repealed.

"This is a victory for us. We want withdrawal of cases against farmers and a committee to be formed on the legal guarantee of MSP for crops.

"The Centre has time till tomorrow (Tuesday) to reply to our demands. We have called an emergency meeting of SKM on Wednesday to discuss the future course of action," a farmer leader said.

The repeal of these three legislations has been one of the key demands of around 40 farmer unions protesting at various Delhi border points since November 26, 2020.

On November 21, the SKM -- an umbrella body of farmer unions leading the protests -- had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately resume talks on the farmers' six demands, including a legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at MSP.

Repeal Without Discussion Shows Govt 'terrified': Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that the repealing of the three farm laws without debate shows that the government is "terrified" of having a discussion and knows that it has done something wrong.

After Parliament passed 'The Farm Laws Repeal Bill' to rescind the three contentious agri laws against which farmers have been protesting for over a year, Gandhi told reporters his party had predicted that the government will have to take back the farm laws as it knew that the "power of three-four crony capitalists cannot withstand the strength of farmers and labourers".

He said the repeal of the laws is a success of farmers and also of the country.

"What is unfortunate is how the bills have been repealed, without any discussion, without any conversation. We wanted to have a discussion about forces behind these bills because these bills do not just reflect the view of the prime minister, these bills reflect the forces behind the prime minister and that is what we wanted to discuss," Gandhi said.

"We wanted to discuss MSP (issue), we wanted to discuss the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, we wanted to discuss the 700 farmers who died in this agitation and unfortunately that discussion has not been allowed," the former Congress chief said.

It is a reflection of the fact that this government is "terrified" of having these discussions and "wants to hide".

What is the point of Parliament if discussions are not allowed, he said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also decried the “deliberate systematic destruction of Parliament” and tweeted: “Modi sermonises  on debates in Parliament but no discussion allowed in both Houses on repeal of farm laws....

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed the passage of a Bill by Parliament to repeal three contentious farm laws and congratulated all the farmers on this.

"Wow! What a day in the history of Indian democracy and Indian Parliament. All three black farm laws repealed. Congratulations to all farmers and all Indians," Kejriwal, who is also the national convenor of the AAP, tweeted.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the Bill amid protest by the Opposition who were demanding a discussion on the draft legislation and farmers' issues.

In the Lok Sabha, the Bill was passed within minutes of its introduction in the House.

Congress leader  in the House, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said:  "What was the problem in having a discussion on the farm laws repeal Bill. There have been discussions whenever a law has been repealed in the past. What is the problem," he asked, noting that over 1,429 old laws have been repealed.

He said the Congress has also demand the sacking of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, whose son has been arrested in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

"We wanted the government should give us time to speak on the Bill. But the government disallowed us and passed the Bill without discussion. What is the government fearing?" he said.

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