The Centre did not take into account the Opposition’s views before passing the recent agriculture legislations, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Monday while addressing a farmers’ rally in Mumbai.
Pawar also alleged that the BJP government passed the laws without any discussion in Parliament. The bills could have been discussed by a select committee before being passed, but that did not happen, he said.
A slew of farmers from as many as 21 districts of Maharashtra assembled at Mumbai's expansive Azad Maidan on Monday morning to begin their three-day sit-in to protest against the new farm laws that were enacted in September last year.
The rally comes as a response to the nationwide call issued by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is leading the farmers' agitation at Delhi borders, to intensify protests from January 23 to 26.
The Centre may pass any law undermining the Constitution and on the back of its majority, but once the common man and farmers rise, they will not keep quiet until the new farm acts and the ruling party are destroyed, Pawar said during the rally.
The former Union agriculture minister also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not enquiring about the condition of farmers agitating at Delhi’s borders.
Pawar also hit out at Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for heading to Goa at a time when peasants from the state were to submit a memorandum to the latter against the farm laws.
Pawar said Koshyari, who holds the additional charge of Goa, had time to meet Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut after the BMC demolished parts of her office in Mumbai last year, but has no time for farmers.
The NCP leader said it was the moral responsibility of the Governor to meet the protesting farmers, but the latter did not discharge that duty.
Maharashtra Revenue Minister and state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah and others also addressed the rally held at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.
"It has been 60 days since farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan are protesting near Delhi. Did the country’s PM enquire about (the farmers)? It was mentioned that the farmers are from Punjab. Does Punjab mean Pakistan?" Pawar asked.
The new agri laws, enacted in September last year, seek to encourage private trade, contract farming and remove stock limit on food grains.
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.
(With PTI inputs)