NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said the BJP-led central government decided to withdraw three farm laws fearing backlash in upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, and hailed the protesting farmers, saying their year-long struggle against the legislations would not be forgotten.
He also slammed the Centre for introducing the three farm bills and getting them passed "in haste" without any discussion and without taking state governments into confidence.
Talking to reporters in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, Pawar said, "When I was the agriculture minister for 10 years, the issue of farm laws was raised in Parliament by the BJP, which was in the opposition at that time. I had made a commitment that farming is a state subject and hence we would not like to take any decision without taking states into confidence or without discussion." "I had personally taken a two-day meeting with agriculture ministers of all states as well as chief ministers, held detailed discussions with them and noted down suggestions given by them. Similarly, opinions were also sought from agriculture universities in the country as well as from some farmers organisations. We were about to start the process of making farm laws, but the tenure of our government ended and the new dispensation came to power," he said.
Pawar said that after coming to power in 2014, the BJP government introduced the three farm bills without discussion and without taking the state governments into confidence.
"These bills were opposed by all the opposition parties in Parliament and its proceedings were stalled and walkouts were staged. However, the people in power insisted that they would continue with the bills and they were passed in haste," he said.
As a reaction to it, protests were held at various places in the country, especially on Delhi borders, in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and western UP, he said.
The farmers launched a struggle and sat on roads heading to Delhi without caring for the weather conditions, the NCP supremo said, adding, "It was not easy, but the farmers without compromising on their problems held peaceful protests together. We were also in touch with them. We salute their struggle...It is good that the contentious three farm laws have been withdrawn, but the struggle that the farmers had to go through won't forgotten." "Ultimately, as UP and Punjab elections came closer and particularly when the BJP people saw the reaction of farmers in the villages of Haryana and Punjab and some other states. They could not ignore this aspect and keeping in mind the upcoming elections they decided to withdraw the three farm laws," he said.
Although what has happened is good, we cannot forget that this government created a scenario wherein farmers had to put up a struggle for one year, Pawar added.
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