Farm Bills: Today will be remembered as a black day for democracy, says Congress
This is a black day for Parliament in its history after this government hatched a conspiratorial attack," he said. The Rajya Sabha passed the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 on Sunday amid the din created by opposition members.PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 21-09-2020 01:00 IST | Created: 21-09-2020 00:36 IST
The Congress on Sunday accused the BJP leadership of hatching a conspiracy in the passage of the contentious farm bills in Rajya Sabha amid a din and said the day would be remembered as a "black day" for parliamentary democracy. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said democracy has been shamed by the manner in which the government issued "death warrants" against farmers by passing two bills related to the agriculture sector.
"The farmers grow gold from land, but the arrogance of the Modi government is making farmers shed tears of blood," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. "Democracy has been shamed by the manner in which the government passed death warrants against farmers in the form of two farm bills in Rajya Sabha," he tweeted.
The Congress also called as "very unfortunate" Defence Minister Rajnath Singh supporting all that had happened in Rajya Sabha in the passage of the bills while ignoring the voice of the opposition members and their rights in demanding division of votes. Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said the party expected a decent reaction from the senior ministers and at least they should have condemned the practice of passage of the bills in such a manner.
He said it was "very unfortunate" that Rajnath Singh was totally supporting what happened in the House and the conduct of the deputy chairman, as they expected a decent reaction from him and other senior ministers. "At least they should have condemned the practice. Today's entire episode was a conspiracy built by the BJP leadership. They want to suppress the voice of the farmers and they want to bulldoze and anti-farmer bills," he told reporters.
Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said never before have such scenes been witnessed in the 73-year-old history of parliamentary democracy in India. "The Modi government has shamed the same Parliament before which PM Modi bowed on entering. The Modi government has stabbed farmers and farm labourers in their stomach and back with a sharp dagger by bringing the three black laws. This is a black day for Parliament in its history after this government hatched a conspiratorial attack," he said.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 on Sunday amid the din created by opposition members. The bills have already been passed by Lok Sabha and will now go to the President for his assent before they are notified as laws. The Congress also said that the government is attempting to hand over the farming sector to corporates and the day will be remembered as "anti-farmer day".
"The legislations are not just against farmers but also against the federal structure as agriculture is a state subject and trading within the state is in the concurrent list," Patel told reporters. K C Venugopal said today will be marked as the "darkest day of Indian democracy".
"The manner in which the government as roughshod the grossly anti-farmer bills was totally against any and every procedure and tradition laid out in the rule book," he said. "The high-handedness and utter disregard for democratic tradition and norms seems to have become the new normal even in Parliament- the temple of our democracy. The government bulldozed the anti-farmer bills at the cost of well established parliamentary procedures, rules and traditions," Venugopal said.
The government is "hellbent upon helping their crony capitalist friends by going to any extent, including denying discussion and division for passing the bills in the house," he said. The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to give freedom to farmers to sell their produce outside the notified APMC market yards (mandis). This, the government says, is aimed at facilitating remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels. Farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under this Act, according to the government.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 seeks to give farmers the right to enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price. It seeks to transfer the risk of market unpredictability from farmers to sponsors.