Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday reiterated his demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi enter into a “direct dialogue” with farmers protesting against the Centre’s agriculture sector laws. “Mr. Modi has maintained a complete silence … Had he taken the correct decision, the farmers would not have been forced to launch an agitation,” he said.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Gehlot said no stakeholders, including the farmers and the Opposition parties, were consulted before the farm laws were brought. He said the people of the country had earlier relied on their Prime Minister and even responded to Mr. Modi’s call to clap, ring bells, beat utensils and light candles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What was the need for 10 Union Ministers and the Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled States to oppose the farmers’ agitation? Mr. Modi has clearly failed to resolve the grievances of farmers,” Mr. Gehlot said.
Challenge of recession
The Chief Minister asked why had the Centre brought the legislation at the present juncture when the nation was facing the challenges of recession and unemployment. “Lakhs of people have lost their jobs because of the Centre’s wrong policies … It is the farmers who have made a positive contribution to economy with the agriculture sector registering a GDP growth rate of 3.4%,” he said.
Mr. Gehlot said anyone raising voice against the Modi government was dubbed anti-national, while the ruling party at the Centre was indulging in the politics of polarisation and promoting religious bigotry. The Central officers were saying that “too much of democracy” had made the reforms difficult, while the government had passed the laws by flouting all constitutional procedures, he said.
Affirming that the reforms could be carried out in a democracy, Mr. Gehlot pointed out that Manmohan Singh had started economic globalisation and unveiled a series of reforms in his capacity as the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister. “No one came on roads in protest at that time, neither did anyone feel cheated,” he said.