Proposal to farmers on agri laws stands, says PM Modi at all-party meet

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  With the Opposition parties gearing up to corner the government on the controversial farm laws in the ongoing parliament session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reiterated the government’s proposal to stay the laws for 18 months. At an all-party meeting, the PM said the government’s stand was the same as it was on January 22, when the proposal to keep the laws in abeyance was made during the talks with the protesting farmers’ unions.

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait addresses supportersand the media during a protest overCentre’sagriculture laws at Ghazipur border| PARVEEN NEGI“During the all-party meeting PM Narendra Modi assured that the government was approaching the farmers’ issue with an open mind. The PM said the agriculture minister’s proposal still stands,” parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said. Modi stressed that the government had an open mind and was ready for a detailed discussion on the issue, adding the farmers could always approach the government as agriculture minister Narendra Tomar was just a phone call.

The PM reaffirmed the importance of the smooth functioning of Parliament and comprehensive debates on the floor of the House. He said smaller parties suffered as a result of frequent disruptions as they do not get an opportunity to express themselves adequately and called on the bigger parties to ensure that Parliament functions smoothly.

In the meeting, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Trinamool Congress’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut and Akali Dal member Balwinder Singh Bhunder also spoke at length on the agitation. Azad reportedly said in the meeting that the Congress had warned the government about the agitation and now the government has to deal with the consequences. Most opposition leaders were of the view that the government needs to discuss the laws again in both houses of parliament and also seek to address the misgivings of the agitating farmers.

They also reportedly asked the government not to see them as enemies. The Opposition condemned the violence during the tractor rally on January 26 but also demanded an investigation into how “outside elements” had infiltrated the farmers’ movement. The farmers made similar allegations, blaming actor-activist Deep Sidhu for instigating the mob and planting a Sikh religious flag at the Red Fort.

The meeting took place a day after opposition parties boycotted the President’s address to a joint sitting of parliament in order to express support to the protesting farmers. Joshi said the budget session would take up 38 items, including 33 Bills and five financial items. He said though it would be mainly devoted to financial business relating to the budget and a discussion on the motion of thanks among others.

No internet at Singhu, Ghazipur till todayThe Centre temporarily suspended internet services at the Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders. The decision was taken to maintain public safety and avert public emergency. On January 26, there was large scale violence during the tractor rally.

Now, Haryana books Tharoor & journalistsCongress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists were booked by the Haryana Police on charges of sedition for allegedly spreading disharmony during the clashes between the police and farmers on Republic Day in national capital.