Telanagana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) on Tuesday (December 29) took a sharp U-turn from his earlier opposition of the contentious farm laws passed by the Centre, and said that the state government will leave the process of sale and purchase of agriculture produce to the market since the new agri laws are being implemented across India.
The chief minister noted that the state government is neither a "business organisation" nor a "trader".
"The government cannot do it anymore. It is not a rice or dal miller. Sale and purchase are not the responsibility of the government. It is not possible to set up a purchase centre in the village from the next year onwards," reports quoted an official statement from the Telanagana Chief Minister's Office (CMO).
Earlier, the KCR-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi had opposed the recently-passed farm laws at the Parliament and even endorsed the nation-wide 'Bharat Bandh' strike called by the farmers agitating over the new agri laws.
Back in September, KCR had conveyed a strict instruction to his party MPs to vote against the farm laws in the Parliament, noting that the recent legislations would "harm the interests of the farmers" and enable corporate lobbies to exploit the peasants.
However, the Chief Minister's 180-degree turn from his earlier stance comes days after a high-level meeting among him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday evening.
The government statement, nevertheless, highlights that the state government had incurred losses to the tune of Rs 7,500-crore due to the purchase of paddy, sorghum, maize, red gram, Bengal gram and sunflower last season, even at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
KCR's U-turn has attracted tough censure from the both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, who condemned the Telanagana Chief Minister for the flimsy turn of events.
The BJP welcomed the decision, but noted that in the future, the Chief Minister "should not take such hasty steps at the cost of the common man".
"Now the farmers have lost this season. Now he tells that farmers can sell their produce anywhere in the country so that is why PM Modi has got the bill. At least he has opened his eyes. We welcome the decision of KC Rao. In the future, he should not take such hasty steps at the cost of the common man," said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) OBC Morcha national president Dr K Laxman to news agency ANI.
On the other hand, Congress leader and former MP Ponnam Prabhakar, while speaking to ANI, said, "Telangana government has taken a U-turn on their stand on farm laws. All the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) members participated in the Bharat bandh called by farmers' union on December 8."
"TRS has no exclusive rights on farmers in Telangana. They promised a waiver for farmers. They also did not give any bonus on thin rice grains and did not pass a bill against the farm laws. But suddenly KC Rao went to Delhi, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah did a 'sashtanga namaskar' and took a U-turn stating that farm laws are good and that he will support the laws. It is an irresponsible statement," he added.