Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday assured the protesting farmers that the Centre will not do away with the provision of minimum support price (MSP).
During his speech in the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister vehemently denied allegations that the BJP was trying to put an end to MSP and the mandi system of crop procurement.
"MSP was there (in the past). MSP is there (now). MSP will remain in the future," Modi said adding that, “affordable ration for the poor (through the public distribution system) will continue.”
Soon after the PM’s speech the Prime Minister’s Office also tweeted the same.
In an oblique reference to agitating Sikhs being called 'Khalistani' terrorists and other names, the Prime Minister said the nation was proud of every Sikh.
"India is very proud of the contribution of Sikhs. This is a community that has done so much for the nation. The words and blessings of the Guru Sahibs are precious," he said adding that the "Language used by some for them (the farmers) and attempt to mislead them will never benefit the nation."
However, Modi’s assurance seems to have done little to soothe the protesting farmers.
Just hours after the PM’s address Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said business over hunger will not be allowed in the country and he once again demanded a law on minimum support price (MSP) for crops along with the repeal of new contentious agriculture legislations.
"Desh mein bhook pe vyaapaar nahi hoga. Bhook kitni lagegi anaaj ki keemat utni hogi. Desh mein bhook se vyaapaar karne walon ko baahar nikaala jaaega (There will not be business over hunger in the country. If hunger goes up, price of crops will be decided accordingly. Those wanting business over hunger will be driven out of the country)," Tikait told reporters.
Farmers from Punjab and other northern states have been protesting at the borders of the national capital for over two months against the three new farm reform bills. They fear the laws will end the current practice of government buying their produce like wheat and paddy at a minimum support price or MSP.
(With PTI inputs)