BJD Opposes Farm Bills, Demands Revision By Select Committee

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janta Dal (BJD) voiced its dissent of inadequacies on the farm bills which are being discussed in Rajya Sabha today.

Representing the party, MP Dr Amar Patnaik stated that the farm bills have inadequate protection to small and marginal farmers and sharecroppers. BJD, which has nine members, has demanded that the bills be sent to a select committee for fine-tuning.

The bills are “historic” and will bring a change in the lives of the farmers, said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar as he moved two bills in the Upper House.

However, the bills faced major opposition from several parties. Congress asserted that it will “not sign on the death warrant”. The Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, sought to know how many BJP MPs had gained a thorough understanding of the Farmers’ and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 before voting.

Former allies of BJP, Akali Dal and Shiv Sena have also taken a stand against the bills. Akali Dal, which initially supported the bills, opposed it and walked out of the government. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut questioned: “Can the government assure the country that after the passing of the agriculture reform bills, the farmers’ income will double and no farmer will commit suicide?”

Voicing his dissent was former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. He expressed his concerns on the bills and asked the Prime Minister to explain “why there’s a hurry to pass the bills amid the pandemic”.

Even though Tomar promised that MSP will not be touched at any cost, a ruckus erupted in the upper house. Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said the discussion should be continued on Monday since the majority of the MPs were in favour of that.

Meanwhile, farmers across Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the passing of the farm bills.