Agri laws initiated during UPA regime, opposition is politically-motivated, says Fadnavis

The Leader of Opposition also said that handling of cases against Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut "showed the state government''s arrogance of power".
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis (File photo| PTI)
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis (File photo| PTI)

MUMBAI: Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday told the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly that three agri laws passed by the Centre were being opposed for political reasons and claimed that farm sector reforms had been initiated when the Congress-led UPA was in power.

Speaking in the Lower House, the Leader of Opposition also said that handling of cases against Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut "showed the state government''s arrogance of power".

"...Those who violate the rule of the land can be dealt with the existing laws," he said during a debate on supplementary demands.

Fadnavis said the erstwhile UPA regime was of the view that there should be freedom to farmers to sell their produce anywhere they want, a key feature of the recently-passed agri laws.

"In the year 2010, a committee comprising ministers from all states was set up regarding the implementation of agriculture reforms with a view that farmers should have a competitive and alternative marketing mechanism at their disposal," the former chief minister said.

He said a committee set up for this purpose was headed by Harshvardhan Patil, who was a minister in then Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra.

"When these reforms are implemented now, why should there be opposition (to the three agricultural laws passed by the Centre). This (opposition to the laws) is politically motivated," he said.

Fadnavis said we (the BJP) did not subscribe to the views of Goswami and Ranaut.

"We believe in the rule of law. If anybody is doing anything wrong, action should be taken as per law. We do not subscribe to the views of Arnab Goswami and Kangana Ranaut," he said.

Referring to the reopening of a 2018 abetment to suicide case against Goswami, Fadnavis said, "there are laws to punish Arnab Goswami if he has done anything wrong.

"But a closed case was reopened against him. The Supreme Court has ruled that there was no case of abetment to suicide," he said.

A chargesheet was recently filed by Raigad Police against Goswami and two others for allegedly driving interior designer Anvay Naik to suicide in 2018. Naik allegedly killed himself after he failed to get the dues pending with companies of the accused trio, it said.

At this point, Shiv Sena minister Anil Parab interjected Fadnavis, saying the SC ruling was limited to the bail application of Goswami, and that the (Bombay) high court has not quashed a case against the television journalist.

He said the state government will be go in for review against the Supreme Court''s observation.

"Arrogance of power should not go into your head," Fadnavis said.

Referring to the shifting of Metro car shed project from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg in Mumbai, the former CM said the incumbent Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was delaying the infrastructure projects launched by the previous BJP government.

"The MVA government, which completed one year in office recently, is only good at making announcement but doesn''t bother about implementing them," Fadnavis said.

He also alleged that the state government was not serious about getting vacated the interim stay granted by the apex court on the implementation of the Maratha quota.

"OBC quota shouldn''t be touched," he told the Lower House.

BJP MLA and former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the state government was suffering from "political Alzheimer''s disease".

He questioned the need to hold a two-day session of the state legislature to pass supplementary demands when funds could have been raised through the Contingency Fund.

The two-day winter session will end later in the day.

"Was (making provision in the supplementary demands) of Rs 50 crore for boosting the wine production industry was an emergency for you (state government)"? he asked.

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