Centre vs States: Congress-ruled States to introduce Bill in Assemblies to nullify agriculture Laws

New Delhi: Acting on the advice of party's interim president Sonia Gandhi, Congress-ruled states are on a path to introduce Bill to nullify recently enacted Agriculture Laws.

According to top sources in the party, All India Congress Committee (AICC) leadership has sent a draft of the 'model bill' to the state governments which are likely to be passed in their Assemblies by calling a special session.

The draft bill is likely to help the party-ruled states negate the new farm laws and ensure that no farmer gets less than the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce. "Farmers Right and Special Security Provision Bill 2020" is the name given to this Bill the source added.

According to sources, in the Bill, it will be decided by the state government that when will be the Agriculture Laws be implemented in the state. "No private player will be allowed to purchase crops less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) will also be the provision of the Bill," they said.

It seems that by bringing this Bill, Congress is trying to show the Congress model of solution for the problems of farmers. The Party had reacted strongly against the bills (now laws) in the recent Monsoon session of Parliament.

Party has also launched a massive agitation program against the Laws, Rahul Gandhi is leading a "Kheti Bachao Yatra" in Punjab which will be Concluded in Delhi Via Haryana. It will be likely to see as a win for the Congress if they manage to convince the other non-BJP States to pass these bills then it will be the large consensus of protest against the Laws.

Congress Party and other Opposition parties who opposed the Bill has said that the Central Govt did not discuss with State government before introducing agriculture Bills in the parliament. However, Congress Party's this move will also give a push to the debate on federal Structure of Indian democracy as this episode appears to be Centre Vs State.

Last week, Sonia Gandhi advised the Congress-ruled states to explore the possibilities to pass laws in their respective states under Article 254(2) of the constitution, which allows the state legislatures to pass a law, "to negate the anti-agriculture central laws encroaching upon state's jurisdiction under the Constitution".

"This would enable the states to bypass the unacceptable anti-farmers' provisions in the three draconian agricultural laws including the abolition of MSP and disruption of APMCs in Congress-ruled states. This would also alleviate the farmers from the grave injustice done by the Modi Government and BJP," a Congress statement had said.

Article 254(2) of the Constitution provides that where a law made by a state legislature with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the concurrent list "contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter", then, the law so made by the legislature "shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that state".

The Parliament has recently passed the three Bills which have come into effect from September 27 after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent.

The three bills - Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 - were passed in the monsoon session of parliament.

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