New Delhi: While establishing that the ‘farm laws’ will not be scrapped, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, during his motion of thanks to the President’s address in Lok Sabha, once again urged protesting farmers to renew talks, saying the government was ready for a clause-by-clause discussion and could make changes to the farm laws. He also said the time has come for the nation to move forward with confidence and determination.
Repeatedly underlining that the new farm laws were optional and did not take away any provision that existed prior to their being legislated, Modi alleged that these new laws give more options to farmers and were not mandatory as the previous regime was still operational.
Praising the protest by farm unions as “pure” and distinguishing it from issues being raised by “andolanjivis” (perpetual protestors), Modi made it clear that the term “andolanjivi” (that he had used in Rajya Sabha) was not for those who were protesting on Delhi borders but for those who he said were ruining the sanctity of the farm protests.
“I consider farm agitations holy but there is a group of ‘andolanjivis’ which spoils the sanctity of the farm protests by demanding release of terrorists, Naxals and rioters. This is an insult to the farmers’ protest,” the PM said and added, “Not to allow toll plazas to function, damaging telephone towers is hurting the sanctity of the farmers’ agitation. Those indulging in acts of vandalism are not ‘andolankari’ but ‘andolanjivi’ from whom we should be careful.”
Modi in Lok Sabha also came down harshly on Congress with Rahul Gandhi on the opposition benches, pointing to the party’s different approaches in the two Houses. There was discussion in Rajya Sabha and disruption in Lok Sabha. “Such a party will be of no use to itself or the nation,” he said. After he was repeatedly interrupted by Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury, the PM said the scenes in the House were an attempt to replicate disruptions outside. “This disruption is part of a well-thought conspiracy to spread lies,” he said.
PM Modi, like in Rajya Sabha, was seen standing by the need for reforms of the agricultural sector, saying that the need for changes had been felt. He also pointed out the that the former PM Manmohan Singh and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, had aslo advocated reforms which his government has ushered.