For all these months, the ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi have been co-opted by opportunist politicians and ‘activists’ trying to mount an attack against the Modi government. Be it the Congress Party or TMC, the AAP or Samajwadi Party, all have adopted a similar trajectory to further their propaganda and berate the BJP government at the centre by sharing some blatant and outright lies against the new farm laws.
All along, the hypocrisy and double-standards of these opposition politicians have been laid exposed. Now, in yet another U-turn, members of the opposition have come together to demand that the government implements the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The Act is one of the three farm laws against which the Congress party and others have been emphatically protesting.
Actually, a report was tabled in Lok Sabha on Friday by the Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, which has members from 13 parties including BJP, Congress, TMC, AAP, NCP, SP and Shiv Sena.
The committee headed by the TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay said in its report: “hope[s] and expect[s] that the recently enacted ‘The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020’ which was aimed at addressing the issue will become a catalyst for unlocking vast untapped resources in the agriculture sector by creating an environment for enhanced investments…, fair and productive competition in agricultural marketing and increase farmers’ income”.
The committee, therefore, recommended to the Modi government “to implement the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 in letter and spirit, and without let or hindrances so that the farmers and other stakeholders of the farming sector in this country receive the benefits intended under the said Act”.
It is ludicrous that these people who are demanding that the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be implemented, have gone out of the way to spread rumours against the farm laws, exploit the farmers’ agitation and cast the Modi government as anti-farmer. They have been supporting the demands of the protestors that the three laws, including the Essential Commodities Act, should be scrapped.
Here it becomes imperative to revisit the cynicism and flip flops embraced by these opposition politicians regarding Modi government’s three farm laws.
Hypocrisy of Congress over the Farm Laws
Congress Party has been in the forefront of the agitation against the farm laws. Congress’s leaders have been telling the world that the farm laws are “black laws” or “kaale kanoon,” and the government must take them back. Party supremo Rahul Gandhi, being the “rising star” who has been discovered and launched and relaunched so many times in the past few years, has talked extensively against these laws.
Rahul Gandhi has shared some blatant and outright lies, in the past and continues to do so, against the three agriculture bills and has also slammed the government regarding the MSP and APMC. The Gandhi scion expressed concern for the farmers of the country, who according to him, are facing severe difficulties in the absence of MSP and APMC. Extending his support for the farmers, the Wayanad MP said that it’s his duty to back the farmers of the country.
However, we have reported extensively how the Congress manifesto from 2019 General Assembly elections reveals a diametrically opposite stand of the party when it went to the polls last year. The Congress manifesto for 2019 had promised the exact same reforms.
Mamata Banerjee and her hypocrisy over the Farm Laws
On December 7, 2020, in a rally in West Bengal’s West Midnapore, Banerjee contended that the Centre must withdraw the farm bills or step down from the government. “The BJP government (at the Centre) should immediately withdraw the farm bills or step down. It should not continue to remain in power after sacrificing the rights of the farmers,” she had declaimed.
Ironically, while Ms Banerjee held forth on how the farm bills are not in the interest of the farmers and the urgent need to repeal them, she had passed similar agriculture laws in West Bengal in 2014 which she is vehemently opposing today.
Samajwadi Party uses farmers’ protest to reinvent its declining political career
Similarly, the Samajwadi Party has also been trying to carve out a new role for itself after the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has rendered it weak and inconsequential.
Realising that the farmers’ protests could be leverage to make a comeback, the Samajwadi Party aligned itself with the protests, hoping that it would serve to strengthen its political capital needed to fight the Yogi Adityanath government. With this intention, the party mobilised its functionaries and workers for a ‘Kisan Yatra’ in December last year to mark their support for the demonstrators protesting against the three agriculture laws.
AAP and it’s theatric over the Farm Laws
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his fellow AAP ministers had gone to discharge endless drama and taken multiple U-turns over the farm laws in its course to please its vote bank. To this end, he was seen tearing the copies of Farm Laws in a bid to extend their support to the protesters demonstrating along the Delhi borders.
However, like the Congress and the TMC, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had also quietly notified one of the Farm Laws in November 2020 even while portraying themselves as against the new Bills.