File photo of BJP MP Varun Gandhi | Twitter/@varungandhi80
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New Delhi: A day after PM Narendra Modi announced that the three contentious farm laws will be repealed, BJP MP Varun Gandhi wrote to the PM Saturday seeking a legal guarantee on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers and Rs 1 crore compensation for families who lost their members.

In his letter, Gandhi also said that Lakhimpur Kheri was the outcome of provocative statements given against agitating farmers by several senior leaders and also demanded action against Union minister Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’.

“Many leaders sitting in senior positions have given provocative statements against our agitating farmers. It is the result of such statements and the adversarial atmosphere created around the movement, that on October 3, five of our farmer brothers were crushed to death by vehicles in Lakhimpur Kheri,” he wrote in the letter.

“This heartbreaking incident is a blemish on our democracy. It is my request to you that appropriately strict action is taken against the Union Minister who has been connected to this incident, so that there is a fair enquiry,” he added.

Eight people, including four farmers, two BJP workers, a driver and a journalist, died in the clashes in Lakhimpur Kheri on 3 October, following violence after a convoy of three SUVs — including one allegedly owned by Ashish Mishra, son of Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’ — hit a group of protesting farmers.

Gandhi is one of the few BJP MPs to come out in support of the farmers’ agitation. On 10 October, Gandhi alleged there was an attempt to turn the violence in the Lakhimpur Kheri district into a “Hindu vs Sikh battle”.

He was dropped from the party’s top decision-making body in October, following his calls for action against the perpetrators of violence in Lakhimpur Kheri. Days later, he posted a short clip from a speech of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, where he warned the government against intimidating and repressing farmers.


Also read: ‘Farmers our own flesh and blood’, says Varun Gandhi and what BJP is making of it


On MSP

Gandhi thanked Modi for repealing the laws, and requested the PM to make MSP a legal right.

“Over the last one year, a momentous movement of farmers has taken place across the nation, demanding the repeal of the three farm laws and a statutory guarantee of minimum support price for crops. I thank you for your large-heartedness in announcing that these three laws will be repealed,” he said in the letter.

Gandhi said “more than 700 of our farmer brothers and sisters have been martyred in this movement, as they peacefully protested in extremely difficult and hostile conditions. I believe that if this decision had been taken earlier, all these innocent lives would not have been lost”.

“Furthermore, all politically motivated false FIRs that have been registered as weapons of harassment against our farmers during this movement must immediately be quashed,” he wrote.

Explaining the demand for MSP, Gandhi said there are more than 85 per cent small and marginal farmers in the country.

“For the empowerment of these farmers, we have to ensure that they get remunerative prices for their crops. This movement will not end without the resolution of this demand and there will be widespread anger amongst them, which will continue to emerge in one form or the other. Therefore, it is very important for the farmers to get the statutory guarantee of MSP for their crops. The MSP should also be based on the C2+50% formula of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. In this regard, my humble request to you is that the government must immediately accept this demand in the interests of our nation. This will give a sizeable economic security cover to our farmers and there will be a vast improvement in their condition,” he said.

“Democracy runs on constitutionality, discourse and empathy. The farmers expect you to solve their problems in a sensitive and timely manner. I believe that by accepting the demands of the farmers according to the democratic and constitutional values of our nation, your respect shall further increase in the country. I hope you will take a concrete decision in this matter soon,” he added.


Also read: Five lessons the farm laws saga has taught Indians


 

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