There was nothing new in PM Modi’s speech on MSP today: Farmer unions

NEW DELHI: The farmer unions leading the agitation against the three central farm laws said they were not satisfied with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance on minimum support price (MSP) and his appeal to them to end the agitation and resolve the matter with talks.

The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of 40 farmer unions leading the agitation, issued a statement after the PM’s comments during his reply to the motion of thanks to the presidential address, questioning the government’s commitment to seriously and sincerely resolving the farmers’ demands. It pointed out that the government is introducing the Electricity Amendment Bill 2021, despite assuring farmers’ organisations of withdrawing the draft bill.

“We never said that MSP is not there. It is there. The question is how many farmers are getting the MSP,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait told ET. “Barring two states, farmers of no other states get MSP. That’s why our demand is to make MSP mandatory under law.”

Reacting to the PM’s statement that there is an emergence of a community which thrives on protests, Tikait said farmers are protesting this time and people are supporting them..

Farmer leaders reiterated that they are ready to respond positively to any offer of talks by the government and that their peaceful protest shall continue till the matter is resolved.

“We are ready to talk to the government because our appeal to take back the farm laws is to the government,” said Tikait.

Rajinder Singh, vice president, Kirti Kisan Union, said: “There was nothing new and reassuring in the PM’s speech today. Both the PM and the agriculture minister maintain that MSP shall be there. But they maintain a silence when it comes to making it mandatory by law.”

The leaders said that division of farmers between big and small farmers is not valid and that the new laws would harm all the farmers, be it big or large, and even consumers and common men.

The BKU announced a farmer mahapanchayat in Bilari in Moradabad on February 12. Its volunteers are mobilising farmers in villages near Moradabad to attend the gathering.

Tikait is planning to visit nearby states in order to appeal to a large section of farmers to join the movement.

Meanwhile, the protesting farmer unions said they will hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide the further course of action for the movement on the ground.

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