Farmers protest: Ready for talks, says Modi amid reform hardsell

Shed status quo mindset and let new laws help empower small farmers, urges PM.

Published: 11th February 2021 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2021 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Nobody had asked for the triple talaq or dowry laws, but they were still enacted, for reforms must be attuned with changing times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday as he rebutted the Opposition’s charge that farmers had not sought the contentious agri reform laws. Wrapping up the Lok Sabha debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Modi reiterated his government’s willingness to resume talks while describing the laws as progressive.

“Besides creating an additional, but optional, avenue has there been any change after the enactment of the laws? When the laws offer only an option, there can’t be any reason for protest,” he reasoned. Conceding that 100% acceptance to any new measure was not possible, Modi, however, said progress could not be gained without shedding the status quo mindset. 

Recalling the late farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh’s words on farm fragmentation, he said: “We cannot progress if we do not care for small farmers, who constitute 80% of the farming community. Fragmentation is a reality, and this is what the farmers’ producers organisations aim to address.” 

 “A new world order is in the making in the post-Corona era, and we have to choose between being a mute spectator and making reforms. An Atmanirbhar Bharat will play a crucial role in the new world order,” the prime minister asserted.

When Congress members began disrupting his speech, Modi took potshots at them, saying it was divided and confused. “The party has different stands in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. It can neither work for its own good nor solve the country’s challenges,” he said even as Congress and TMC members staged a walk-out. He also made a distinction between andolankari (protesters)and andolan jivi (professional protesters), saying the former is pious while the latter is an anarchist. The kisan andolan is pious, he said.

Agitation path
On 77th day of their protest on the borders of the National Capital, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Tuesday prepared a detailed pan-India protest plan. The finer details will be decided later

Feb 12: All toll plazas in Rajasthan will be made toll free
Feb 14: Candle and mashaal march across the country 
Feb 16: Solidarity day to mark birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram 
Feb 18: Four-hour rail roko across the country


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