HYDERABAD: Activists of farmers’ unions in Telangana, who have been working under the aegis of Kisan Samyukt Morcha since the beginning of the farmers’ agitation in the country, welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to repeal the controversial farm laws on Friday, while making it clear that they would continue fighting until the Centre withdrew the Electricity (Amendment) Bill introduced in Parliament. They also demanded that legislation guaranteeing minimum support price (MSP) to farmers be enacted.
All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha president V Venaktaramaiah pointed out how the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), in its yearly reports, had consistently stated that farmers were not receiving MSP for their crops in the open market. In spite of the Abhijit Sen Commission formed in 2002 and other commissions constituted in the years after that recommending MSP as a statutory right, legislation to this effect was yet to be enacted, he said.
Leaders of various political parties and organisations in Telangana, meanwhile, demanded that the Centre provide ex gratia to the families of the 700-odd farmers who had sacrificed their lives for the agitation. IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao took to Twitter and declared that the “power of the people is always greater than the people in power”. This, he said, was proved yet again by the farmers who got what they had demanded for through their relentless agitation.
Appreciating Modi’s “bold apology” to the nation, Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy said that the Prime Minister’s announcement displayed his dignity, which, he said, was lacking in the BJP leadership in Telangana. Welcoming the move, the Minister said that the Centre had recognised the anguish of farmers.
“The Prime Minister must have perceived the possibilities of south Indian farmers joining their north Indian counterparts after the announcement made by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at the Maha Dharna on Thursday. This, in turn, must have culminated in the latest decision,” said Niranjan Reddy.
Several TRS workers led by Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav performed palabhishekam on Chandrasekhar Rao’s portrait, celebrating the farmers’ victory. “The Central government could feel the heat of the Maha Dharna. This is why it rolled back the farm laws,” Srinivas Yadav said.
TRS MLA from Amberpet Kaleru Venkatesh said, “Modi knows all too well what would happen if KCR leads the nation-wide farmers’ agitation. So he revoked the farm laws.” State Planning Board vice-chairman B Vinod Kumar also said that the farm laws were cancelled immediately after the Chief Minister announced an agitation against the BJP-led Central government.
Pink party MPs, including Kotha Prabhakar Rao, Gaddam Ranjith Reddy and others said that the country has undergone a massive transformation in just 24 hours of KCR announcing that he would lead the farmers’ agitation. They demanded that the Centre also repeal the Power Bills introduced in Parliament.