New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday registered his protest against the three contentious agri reforms that has sparked farmers’ protests by tearing up a copy of the laws during a special assembly session.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party government had tabled a resolution in the Delhi Assembly calling for the repeal of the three farm laws that farmers are currently protesting against on the national capital’s borders. During the session, Kejriwal tore up the copies and urged the central government to not behave like “British colonisers”.
देश के किसानों की मांगों के साथ दिल्ली सरकार एवं आम आदमी पार्टी मज़बूती के साथ खड़ी है। किसान विरोधी काले कानूनों के ख़िलाफ़ दिल्ली विधानसभा से मेरा सम्बोधन | LIVE https://t.co/KyOIerL6bf
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 17, 2020
Kejriwal’s actions come less than a month after his government notified one of the three farm laws. Dated 23 November and undersigned by Sanjay Goel, vice-chairman, Directorate of Agricultural Marketing, Delhi, the gazette notification was issued on a day when Punjab farmers had threatened to hold the national capital hostage with their protests.
In the Assembly session, CM Kejriwal claimed that when the three farm bills were passed in both Houses of Parliament, it was for the first time bills were passed without a vote. Questioning why there was a rush to pass the laws during a pandemic, Kejriwal alleged, “These farm laws have been brought to ensure political funding for BJP.”
After he tore up copies of the farm bills, AAP leaders in the House yelled: “Jai jawan Jai kisaan”.
Kejriwal also took a dig at the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and said: “Even the BJP leaders and UP CM Yogi Adityanath do not understand the benefits of the farm laws.”
Earlier this week, AAP had announced it will contest the 2022 UP assembly election.
Farmer deaths, AAP MLAs on ‘black laws’
Kejriwal’s outburst also comes a day after a Sikh preacher allegedly committed suicide at the protest site and purportedly left a suicide note accusing the central government of oppression.
Over 20 farmers have so far died, either at the protests at Delhi’s borders or while on their way to the protest on the highway.
Talking about the incidence of deaths, Kejriwal said, “In 20 days of the protest, 20 farmers have sacrificed their lives. How many more deaths will it take for the Modi government to wake up to address the concerns of the protesting farmers?”
Farmers had embarked on a ‘Chalo Dili’ protest rally towards the end of November, reaching the border by 26 November. After being blockaded by police, which included trenches being dug in the highway, facing water cannons and tear gas, the farmers were allowed to enter the city to continue their protest in Burari. However, they stayed put at the border while talks with the central government continued. So far, discussions have been inconclusive, with farmers holding steady on their demand for the three laws to be repealed.
Farmers have argued that the laws lead to corporatisation of agriculture, which, in turn, will not give farmers a good deal on the produce they sell.
In the Delhi assembly Thursday, a majority favoured the decision to demand a separate law demanding minimum support price. The 70-member assembly has 62 MLAs from AAP and eight from the BJP. The ruling AAP has been supporting the farmers protests, and the Delhi government said all demands of farmers must be accepted by the Centre.
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, who also tore copies of the laws, said they were “anti-farmer”. “We refuse to accept these black laws which are against farmers,” he said.
Environment Minister Gopal Rai urged the central government to constitute a committee with the farmers and work towards withdrawing the laws.
“The farmer isn’t fighting for himself but rather fighting for the entire country,” he said.