In response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegations of Opposition parties politicising the farmers’ protest, eleven political parties put out a joint statement on Thursday, 24 December, condemning the PM’s claims as ‘baseless’, ‘travesty of truth’ and have asked the Centre to repeal the farm laws and hold ‘discussions on agrarian reforms.’
The joint statement has come from leaders of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) CPI(ML), All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).
In the joint statement, the political party leaders have stated that they are ‘registering their protest against baseless allegations made by the PM’ that the Opposition is politicising the movement and ‘lying’ to the farmers.
“The prime minister’s accusations are a complete travesty of truth,” said the statement.
The Opposition has stated that they are registering their solidarity with the farmers, who have asked the Centre to repeal the law which, according to the statement, ‘many’ opposition parties in Parliament were against, and was passed without ‘proper considerations’ or ‘without discussions’.
They allege that ‘MPs who sought a vote were suspended’. The parties claim that over 500 farmer organisations under ‘Samyukt Kisan Morcha’ have opposed the agriculture law.
“Amongst the many unsubstantiated accusations made, one of them is that those who spoke of agrarian reforms in election manifestos earlier but are now opposing. Yes, we are for reforms, but what sort of reforms? Opposition parties seek reforms to strengthen Indian agriculture; enhance the prosperity of our farmers; and ensure continued food security for our people and the country. The present farm laws undermine these very objectives,” the statement read.
The party has called out the alleged ‘big lies’ they have been accused of spreading about Minimum Security Price in saying, “The PM claims implementing the Swaminathan Commission Report in this regard. This Report had recommended an MSP of C2+50 percent, while this government, at best, implements A2+50 per cent. In fact, this government told the Supreme Court its inability to implement C2+50 per cent MSP. Who is spreading untruths?” said the report.
The Opposition leaders, whilst tackling allegations that have been put on them by the saffron party, such as “shooting from the shoulders of farmers to regain lost political ground” have stated that they cannot ignore the ‘distress’ of the farmers due to growing debt and the increase in farmer suicides despite the Centre’s claim of ‘improving farmers’ prosperity by implementing a higher MSP’.
“The unity, grit and determination being shown by lakhs of farmers from Delhi’s neighbouring states in the midst of a severe cold wave in a peaceful manner and tens of thousands now on their way marching from different places to join this protest is a testimony to the fact that the farmers across the country have risen in opposition to these farm laws. Already 32 farmers have lost their lives,” said the statement.
The Opposition parties insist that the Centre must repeal the agriculture laws along with the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020. They say this should be followed with ‘discussions on agrarian reforms’ by the Centre with farmers and stakeholders. They have recommended a new enactment by the Parliament on the basis of the consultations by conveying a ‘special or joint session’.