NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the farmers to give agri reforms a chance even as he reiterated that the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism would continue. Urging the farmers to call off their protest, the prime minister said the government was open to changes in the law. “Let us sit together and talk,” he said.
In his reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in Rajya Sabha, the prime minister said MSP was, is being, and would continue to be provided. He wanted the farmers to be open minded about the reforms that aim to modernise the mandi system all the while ensuring continued availability of affordable ration to the poor. “The laws are aimed at empowering the small and marginal farmers, who make up for more than two-thirds of the farming community but cannot avail of government scheme benefits,” he added.
Claiming that some protestors and foreign players were misleading the agitators, he lashed out at the opposition for its U-turn from advocating reforms during its rule to bashing it now. Reading excerpts from a statement issued by former prime minister Manmohan Singh on the need for farm reforms and one national market, Modi said, “I am implementing what he (Manmohan Singh) wanted, you should appreciate this. At least, you (opposition) listen to him,” he said.
Later, Modi said a new crop of andolan jivi (professional protesters) has emerged in the country. “These are like parjeevi (parasites) and are always on the lookout for protests. When they are not in the forefront, they operate from backstage,” he said.
Perhaps alluding to tweets by pop star Rihanna and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg supporting the agitation, Modi said, “I see that a new FDI has come. We have to protect the nation from this FDI. We need Foreign Direct Investment but the new FDI is Foreign Destructive Ideology,” he said.
Apparently distancing himself from statements referring to a section of protestors as Khalistanis, he cautioned against forces trying to destabilis e India. “India is very proud of the contribution of Sikhs. This is a community that has done so much for the nation. The words and blessings of the Guru Sahibs are precious,” he said.
Rise above partisan lines, Modi to Opposition camp
On a conciliatory note to the opposition, Modi said the issues miring agriculture should be solved and invited all to move forward for the welfare of farmers by rising above partisan lines