‘Appeal Farmers to End Protests, Come Forward for Talks’: PM in RS

PM Modi’s address comes amid multiple adjournments of the House over the contentious farm laws.

Updated
India
4 min read

Addressing the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, 8 February, appealed to the farmers to end their protests against the three contentious farm laws and hold discussions with the government.

“Elderly people are sitting in protests, I appeal to the protesters to end the protests and come forward for talks. We have always been ready for discussion, I appeal via this House,” he said.

“I assure you that MSP was there in the past; MSP is there presently, and MSP will also stay in the future,” he added.

Slamming the Opposition, the Prime Minister said while parties created ruckus over how the farmers’ protests were being handled by the government, it did not bother to discuss the new farm laws.

“There was a lot said about the farmers’ protests in the Parliament and it is essential to discuss those aspects, but the Opposition did not bother to discuss the laws themselves,” he said, adding that he is sure that the Opposition would not have answers for the questions raised by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in the House.

‘Oppn Took a U-Turn on Farm Laws,’ Says PM, Quotes Manmohan Singh

Quoting former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, PM Modi said that today’s Opposition leaders are not paying heed to what he had said about the farm reforms in the past and have taken a U-turn on farm laws.

“Manmohan ji is here, I'd read out his quote. Those taking a U-turn perhaps agree with him: ‘There are other rigidities because of marketing regime set up in 1930s which prevent our farmers from selling their produce where they get highest rate of return. It is our intention to remove all those handicaps which come in the way of India realising its vast potential at one large common market,'” he said, quoting Singh.

“Sharad Pawar ji, leaders of the Congress party and everybody else, all governments have stood for agricultural reforms. Whether they were able to do it or not, but everyone has advocated that it should be done,” he said, adding that this common belief of the betterment of agricultural sector needs to be furthered.

Taking a jibe at the Trinamool Congress (TMC) over freedom of expression, PM Modi said West Bengal witnesses stifling of dissent every day.

“I was listening to Derek (O’Brien) ji, he had chosen good words – freedom of speech, intimidation. When I was listening to him, I was wondering if he is talking about Bengal or the country. He sees all this for 24 hours, so he might have said the same here, too,” he said.

PM Modi also took a dig at the Indian National Congress (INC), saying while the party talks about freedom of speech, it fails to highlight the Emergency.

“Bajwa sahab (MP Pratap Singh Bajwa) from the Congress was also speaking. He was speaking in such detail that I thought he will soon start talking about the Emergency period shortly, he is just one step away from it. But he didn't go there. Congress disappoints this country a lot, you did that too,” he added.

PM Modi said that the Opposition is only interested in doing politics.

“You corner the government on the issue of the protests, you can do that, but I would have liked it if you would also have told the protesting farmers that change is important as well,” he added.

PM Modi also slammed the Left parties for spiralling the ‘American conspiracy’ narrative since Lal Bahdur Shastri’s days.

“The left parties have been spinning the same narrative since Shastri ji’s days. They alleged American conspiracy over farm reforms against Congress leaders then and they are doing the same for me now,” he said.

PM Modi appealed to the Opposition to come together and work for the betterment of farm reforms while trying to pacify the protesters.

‘We Are Seeing Foreign Destructive Ideology’

In the backdrop of the international condemnation over the suspension of internet in Delhi and the farmer’s protests, PM Modi said while the government is talking about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the country is also witnessing Foreign Destructive Investment.

“The nation is making progress and we are talking about FDI but I see that a new FDI has come to the fore. We have to protect the nation from this new FDI. We need Foreign Direct Investment but the new FDI is 'Foreign Destructive Ideology', we have to protect ourselves from it,” he said.

‘The World Is Watching India’

At the beginning of the address, PM Modi said that the world is watching India and has expectations from it.

“There is confidence that India will contribute to the betterment of our planet,” he added.

Calling India a land of opportunities, PM Modi said that the country is making efforts to realise its dreams.

PM Modi also expressed gratitude to all the MPs who have put forth their views on various issues.

Lauding India’s COVID-19 fight, he said India has come a long way when it comes to making vaccines amid a pandemic.

“India has seen days when there was a large threat of polio, smallpox. Nobody knew whether India will get a vaccine or how many people will get it. From those days, we’re now here, when our nation is making vaccines for the world. This increases our self-confidence,” he said.

He further said the pandemic has added new strength to our federal structure and the spirit of cooperative federalism.

PM Modi’s address comes amid multiple adjournments of the House as the Opposition has been trying to corner the government over the contentious farm laws and the prolonged farmers’ protests.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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