Ambikapur: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said the Centre has honoured Chaudhary Charan Singh, who championed for farmers’ causes, and agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan with the Bharat Ratna but has been doing “injustice” to cultivators.
His remarks came against the backdrop of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march call given by thousands of farmers demanding a law on minimum support price (MSP) and the national capital being made a virtual fortress with authorities stopping them from entering the city.
Notably, security in Delhi has been intensified with multi-layer barricades, concrete blocks, iron nails and walls of containers at border points to stop the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march of farmers from entering the national capital on Tuesday, after talks between farm leaders and the Centre remained inconclusive.
Ramesh said, “A few back back, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Bharat Ratna (country’s highest civilian honour) for great farmer leader Charan Singh and the ‘father of green revolution’ Swaminathan posthumously and we welcome the decision.” “But the government, which has announced the prestigious honour for the two legends, has been committing injustice to farmers,” he claimed.
Farmers have been staging protests in support of three-four demands which the Modi government promised to be fulfil when it rolled back three ‘black’ farm laws, Ramesh said.
He said farmers have been demanding a law on minimum support price and that the MSP should be fixed at 1.5 times the production cost of the crops, as per the formula of Swaminathan.
The third demand of farmers is loan waiver. The Modi government waived loans amounting to Rs 14 lakh crore of “chandadata” (donation givers) but not the Rs 1 lakh crore loans of “annadata” (referring to farmers), Ramesh claimed.
In 2008, the then Congress government at the Centre waived farmers’ loans of Rs 72,000 crore, he said.
The Modi government has not been fulfilling its assurance given to farmers, which reflects its intention, he claimed.
The Congress is standing with the farmers and supports them, he added.
Asked about some parties exiting the opposition INDIA alliance, formed to counter the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Ramesh said, “There were 28 parties and only two of them have left. Of the two, one is ‘Palti Kumar’ (referring to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar). ‘Palti’ (political somersault) is in his blood, he does volte face again and again.” “We were not expecting anything else other than volte face. The other one is the RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) which took some other decisions after the announcement of the Bharat Ratna for Chaudhary Charan Singh. Only two parties have left. There are 26 parties and the alliance is strong,” he said.
Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar was also present at the press conference.