New Delhi: India’s leading traders’ body, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), Sunday hit out at BJP national vice-president Raghubar Das over his article targeting “middlemen”.
Advocating the three farm laws introduced by the BJP-led NDA government, the former Jharkhand CM wrote in an article that they have ushered in freedom for farmers from the “trap of middlemen”.
“Nayein krishi kanoonon ke baad hamare annadata ko bichauliyon ke naagpash se mukt mil gai hain (After the new agricultural laws, our farmers have got freedom from the trap of middlemen),” he wrote in the article published in Dainik Jagran Saturday.
Taking umbrage to his remarks, the CAIT said in a post on Twitter: “His most irresponsible words have demeaned and infuriated India’s trading community.”
Traders of India take severe exception to the comments made by Senior BJP Leader @dasraghubar. His most irresponsible words have demeaned & infuriated India’s trading community. We demand that @BJP4India President Shri @JPNadda take strict action against him. @PiyushGoyal @ANI pic.twitter.com/ImODZzLvXY
— Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) (@CAITIndia) December 27, 2020
They also said Das has become “mentally bankrupt” for labelling traders as “mafia and snake”.
“We demand that @BJP4India President Shri @JPNadda take strict action against him. @PiyushGoyal,” they tweeted.
Das, however, said his article wasn’t targeted at “honest traders”.
“If you are an honest trader, why should this affect you? I was referring to the middlemen and the dalals,” he told ThePrint when asked about the “middlemen” he had referred to in his article.
“The traders are contributing to the progress of the country and going about their work with honesty. When I was the chief minister, we had even removed the agricultural tax that would be imposed on market committees in favour of the traders to address corruption and dalali,” he said.
In his article, Das wrote that the farming sector earlier contributed 50 per cent to the economy, but this had reduced to 20 per cent now.
“Aisa isliye hua, kyunki sattadhish aur hukmaran kagaz ke kheton par kalam ke hal chalate rahe, syahi se sichai karte rahe, aashvason ke urvarak dalte rahe, kisan urea ke liye lathiye khate rahe aur neta aakde ki phaslein katkar kisanon ko bharmate rahe (This happened because those in power continue to use their pens to plough ‘paper fields’, irrigate with ink, apply fertilisers of assurances, while farmers got beaten with sticks when they demanded urea, and politicians just harvested data and kept misleading the farmers).”
He added: “If extensive reforms had already taken place in the agricultural sector, the situation of farmers would have been much better today.”
As a result of the agricultural reforms, Das added, farmers would be able to sell their crops at a price decided only by them.
The three farm laws have triggered widespread protests by Punjab and Haryana farmers, who have been camping at Delhi borders for a month now.
The protesting farmer unions Saturday agreed to resume talks with the Narendra Modi government.
“Because the government keeps talking about amendments, we have made it clear this time that we don’t want amendments, and have given agenda for talks, including modalities to repeal the law,” Balbir Singh Rajewal, chief of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), had told ThePrint.