Repeal farm laws, don't make it a prestige issue: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury writes to PM

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Sunday urged Prime Minister to repeal the three agri-marketing related laws without making “this a prestige issue” as farmers are protesting against these new legislations.

Chowdhury said the three laws are “anti-farmer” and corporate-friendly, and they will end up “hurting” farmers’ earnings.

“I request you not to make this a prestige issue,” he said in a letter to the prime minister. “The government must bow to the supreme will and aspirations of the people and accordingly repeal the farm laws at the earliest, as the livelihood of millions of farmers is at stake,” he said.

Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Punjab have planned a protest at Jantar Mantar for convening an early session of Parliament to repeal the farm laws.

The Congress has also extended its support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by farmer unions seeking the repeal of farm laws.

Chowdhury said in his letter that through these contentious laws, the Minimum Support Price guarantee, farmers’ safety net since the Green Revolution of 1960s, is being “snatched away” under the pretext of giving them more playing ground and better platforms to sell their produce.

The government has reiterated at multiple occasions that the new laws will not touch the MSP regime and also that these legislations will help farmers raise their incomes.

“The bills have not been discussed in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and have been hurriedly passed amid ruckus through a voice vote.

“I may like to remind you that the essence of a democracy is ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’. There have been many precedents of repeal of the bills/laws passed by Parliament,” the senior Congress leader told the prime minister.

In 2013, Chowdhury said, Parliament enacted the historic Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act (LARR Act), which repealed and replaced the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, following decades of conflict over compulsory acquisition of land under the 1894 Act.

Similarly, the Mental Health Care Act was passed in 2017, superseding the Mental Health Act, 1987, he said.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu separately wrote to the Delhi Police seeking permission to protest at the Jantar Mantar on Monday to demand the convening of a special session of Parliament to repeal the farm laws.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said since the passage of the farm laws, the Congress has been demanding a legal guarantee on MSP, continuance of food grain procurement through government agencies, barring the entry of corporates and respecting the states’ right to legislate.

“The farmers are demanding the same and want the Farm Laws repealed. I am happy that the Congress has supported the call of the farmers for a Bharat Bandh. The people of India must support the Bharat Bandh too,” he said on Twitter.

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