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Farm bills are sugar-coated pills, will oppose them tooth and nail: Telangana CM

TPE Correspondent

New Delhi September 19th

he Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will oppose the farm bills that have been brought in Parliament by the Narendra Modi government, said party president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) on Saturday.

KCR said these farm bills will do “a lot of injustice” to the farmers. He has instructed TRS MPs to oppose the Bills “tooth and nail” in Parliament.

“The Bills will adversely impact farmers and would benefit corporates,” he said, adding that there is a need to oppose the farm Bills when they are introduced in the Rajya Sabha.

On Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed the two farm Bills as the Opposition did not seek voting on any clause of these Bills. The Congress, DMK and the Left parties opposed the Bills and walked out of the House in protest.

Besides them, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the ruling BJP’s oldest ally, also opposed the Bills in the Lok Sabha, and its MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet.

“For the public consumption, it was stated in the Bills that farmers could sell their produce anywhere in the country. But in reality, the Bills would enable the traders to go anywhere in the country to buy the produce. They are saying farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country with these new Bills. But is it possible for farmers to take their small produce to distant areas, bearing the heavy transport charges and sell it at good price? These Bills are nothing but a sugar-coated pill. This should be opposed at all costs,” the Telangana CM said.

He also alleged that the Bills are “in favour” of the corporate lobby and will allow them to spread themselves across the country, paving way for private traders.

The TRS chief announced that since these farm Bills will cause huge losses to the agriculture sector and are against the interests of farmers, his party will oppose and vote against them in the Rajya Sabha.

While the Modi government was easily able to get the two farm Bills passed in the Lok Sabha, it is likely to face hurdles in the Rajya Sabha where it does not enjoy a majority.

The Congress has been working on ways to unite the opposition parties, especially the non-UPA non-NDA parties like TRS, YSR Congress, BJD, TMC, Samajwadi Party and others.

The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has said it will oppose the farm bills.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a video statement where he strongly supported and defended the farm bills. He said there are many powers at play who are trying to mislead the farmers, but the farmers must not pay heed to them.

WHAT ARE THE FARM BILLS?

On Monday, the Modi government introduced ‘The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill’, ‘The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill’, and ‘The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill’.

These bills are aimed to replace the ordinances promulgated by the government in the past.

The government has argued that these measures will free farmers from the existing government-controlled markets and prices, and that they can enter into agreements with private parties for a better price of their produce.

However, farmers are apprehensive and fear that once these bills are passed by Parliament, they would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system and leave the farming community at the “mercy” of big corporates.

Over the last few weeks, farmers have organised protests in several parts of Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Rajasthan, among others, against these bills.

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