Government hatching conspiracy to bring back farm laws through back door: Congress

The Congress reiteration of allegations came over Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's clarification that the government has no plans to bring back the recently repealed farm laws.
A group of Indian farmers dance at the protest site as they started to dismantle temporary structures used during protests in Ghazipur, outskirts of New Delhi. (Photo | AP)
A group of Indian farmers dance at the protest site as they started to dismantle temporary structures used during protests in Ghazipur, outskirts of New Delhi. (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Sunday reiterated its charge that the Centre was hatching a "conspiracy" to bring back the three farm laws through the "back door" after the next round of assembly polls and urged the people to teach the government a lesson by defeating it in the elections.

The Congress reiteration of allegations came over Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's clarification that the government has no plans to bring back the recently repealed farm laws, and urged farmers to be wary of "confusion" being created by the Congress on this issue.

The minister said that his statements on this issue made during his address at an agri event at Nagpur in Maharashtra, however, have been misinterpreted and said his intention was not that is being shown.

"I had said (at that event) we have taken a step back on the farm laws but the government will always move ahead to work towards the welfare of the farmers.

Therefore, there should not be any misunderstanding on this issue and the government has no intention to bring back the farm laws again," Tomar said.

Asked about Tomar's remarks, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala at a press conference said Tomar had given his statement earlier at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Three black laws against the farmers and farm-labourers of this country, who had made the government bow down with their agitation of more than 380 days and sacrificed 700 farmers," he said.

"The government bowed down only because their defeat was clearly visible in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. After the elections in five states, they will bring back this law from the back door," he said.

"That's why we said yesterday that in the defeat of the BJP, there is victory for labourers and farmers. Defeat the BJP in these five states that they cannot dare to bring such black laws again," Surjewala said.

The Congress had attacked Tomar over his remarks at an event on Friday in which, while talking about the agri laws, he said the government took a "step back" and "will move forward again".

The Farm Laws Repeal Act repealed the three farm laws which were passed by Parliament in September last year with an objective to bring reforms in the agriculture sector, especially marketing of farm produce.

These three farm laws were -- Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday made it clear that the central government has no plan to reintroduce the three withdrawn farm laws, and accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of doing "cheap politics" and misleading people.

Tomar's statement comes a day after the Congress alleged that the Centre was hatching a conspiracy to reintroduce the three farm laws after the upcoming assembly polls.

The Congress had made the allegation after Tomar, during an event in Maharashtra's Nagpur, said while talking about repealed farm laws that the government moved a "step back" and "will move forward again".

"There is no proposal of the government to bring back agriculture reform laws. People like Rahul Gandhi indulge in cheap politics. These people have tried unsuccessfully to mislead the country by misquoting my statement. There is no such proposal to bring back the repealed laws," Tomar told reporters at Morena on Sunday when asked about Congress allegations.

In Nagpur, Tomar had said that the Centre brought agriculture amendment laws, but some people did not like these laws which were a big reform brought about 70 years after the Independence under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.

"But the government is not disappointed, we moved a step back and we will move forward again because farmers are India's backbone," Tomar had said.

After this statement, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had said in a tweet in Hindi on Saturday that the country's agriculture minister has insulted PM Modi's apology.

"If anti-farmer steps are taken again, then satyagraha of annadatas will take place. Had defeated arrogance, will again defeat it," he had said.

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, while referring to Tomar's remarks said the "concerted conspiracy" to bring back the three "anti-farmer" agricultural laws now stands exposed again by the statement made by Tomar.

The Centre had repealed the three farm laws which were passed by Parliament in September last year with an objective to bring reforms in the agriculture sector, especially marketing of farm produce.

These three farm laws were - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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