NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday asked the Centre to take serious cognisance of the ongoing farmers’ protest and said if the deadlock continues, the agitation will not be limited to Delhi and people from across the country will stand by the protesting cultivators.
Talking to reporters, Mr Pawar said when the farmers are protesting on streets, it should be taken seriously.
“But, unfortunately, that is not happening,” the former Union agriculture minister said.
“I hope wisdom dawns on the government and it takes cognisance to resolve the issue. If this stalemate continues, the protest will not be limited to Delhi, but people from nook and corner of the country will stand by the protesting farmers,” he said.
Thousands of farmers are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a week against the new farm laws.
They have also called for a ”Bharat Bandh” on December 8.
Talks between the government and protesting farmers remained inconclusive on Saturday even as union leaders stuck to their demand for the repeal of the new farm laws.
Mr Pawar said farmers from Punjab and Haryana contribute the most to the country’s agriculture and food supply.
“Farmers from these states not just fill our stomach but are also major contributors to India’s supply of food grains, especially rice and wheat, to more than a dozen countries,” he said.
Mr Pawar said when the three farm bills were introduced in Parliament, all parties, except the BJP, had said the bills should not be passed in a hurried manner.
The parties had sought a debate on the bills and demanded they be sent to the joint select committee.
“But the government did not listen, and now they will have to bear the consequences,” he said.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
But the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.