Tamil Nadu

Stalin questions PM’s reluctance on MSP

DMK president M.K. Stalin led a protest here on Saturday in solidarity with the farmers agitating in New Delhi against the three laws to deregulate the agriculture sector. He questioned why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not prepared to give an assurance to the farmers on the minimum support price (MSP). The DMK organised well-attended agitations in different parts of Tamil Nadu.

Addressing the gathering near Kandhashramam here, Mr. Stalin said Mr. Modi talked up the benefits of the laws without specifying them. “How would he be able to do so when there are no benefits [in the law],” he said. “The Prime Minister says farmers will get the MSP. But why is he not ready to include it in the law,” he asked.

Mr. Stalin said the agitation had shaken the Centre. He pointed out that while Mr. Modi had said his government would prevent farmer suicides, 10,281 farmers had ended their lives last year alone. Contrary to the Prime Minister’s assurance, the government had informed the Supreme Court that it would not implement the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report.

Mr. Stalin criticised Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, whom he called “Salem scientist”, for stating that the protest was instigated by traders and middlemen in Punjab. “The Chief Minister is saying, as if it were a new finding, that farmers can sell their produce in any part of the country under the new law. But would tomato farmers at Edappadi travel to Punjab to sell their produce,” he asked.

He said the Chief Minister was not well informed about the laws, and he must “atone” for his betrayal of farmers. He reiterated that the State must oppose the laws and pointed out that Kerala and Punjab had mounted a legal challenge.

Mr. Stalin also questioned the Chief Minister why he had not responded to DMK deputy general secretary A. Raja’s challenge to a debate on the 2G case and the charges of corruption against the DMK.

‘Corporatising farming’

Participating in a protest at Mettupalayam, DMK women’s wing secretary M.K. Kanimozhi said that had the DMK been in power, Tamil Nadu would have been the first State to oppose the “anti-farmer, anti-people farm laws.”

The BJP government at the Centre used its brute majority and passed the Bills in Parliament. The urgency with which it had passed the Bills showed that it wanted to corporatise the agriculture sector by eliminating small traders to pave the way for corporates.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 8:50:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/stalin-questions-pms-reluctance-on-msp/article33260991.ece

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