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PM slams ‘andolanjeevi’ in RS farm laws defence

February 09, 2021 05:03 AM

courtesy  HT FEB 9

PM slams ‘andolanjeevi’ in RS farm laws defence

HT Correspondent

New Delhi : While warning the country against “andolanjeevis” (those who live off protests), and the influence of FDI (“foreign destructive ideology”), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday strongly defended the recent farm laws, touted their benefits, particularly for small and marginal farmers, and reiterated the government’s commitment to modernising agricultural markets (mandis) and retaining the minimum support price (MSP)-based procurement regime.

At the same time, the PM appealed to agitating farm groups to call off their protests, said all doors for suggestions and improvement remain open, and invited them for continued discussions.

Responding to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha, Modi cited the history of political backing for agricultural reforms, including by former PM Manmohan Singh, and criticised the Opposition for their “U-turn” on the issue.

At a time when there is increasing criticism about India’s democratic record, the PM also called India the “mother of democracy”, and at a time when some have labelled protesting Sikh farmers as extremists, he hailed the contribution of Sikhs to nation-building and underscored the sensitivity of Punjab given its history.

Modi also praised the manner in which Indian citizens battled Covid-19, spoke of the immense goodwill generated for India with its supply of medicines and now vaccines to other countries, and highlighted India’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

Highlighting the urgency of agri reforms, which formed the core of his speech in the House, the PM said: “This is the time to make agriculture prosperous... Give the reforms a chance and see whether we benefit from it. If there is any weakness, we will remedy it.”

The PM also warned against those he termed “andolanjeevis”. “We are familiar with shramjivi (those who labour), and buddhijivis (intellectuals). But I see that a new group has emerged in this country. If there is a lawyers movement, a students movement, a workers movement, they will be there — either in the front or behind the scenes. They cannot live without andolans (movements). They get to all places, give an ideological stand, mislead and show new ways. The country must be saved from these ‘andolanjeevis’.”

He added that even as the country was talking about foreign direct investment (FDI), another form of FDI had emerged. “This is foreign destructive ideology. To save the country from this FDI, we need to be more aware.” At the same time, Modi emphasised the importance of Punjab. “There are people who are making constant efforts to weaken and destabilise India. Don’t forget what happened with Punjab. During Partition, Punjab suffered the worst. During 1984, the maximum tears were shed in Punjab. The most horrific incidents happened in Punjab... all governments have known who was behind it.”

He also sent out a message on the Sikh community. “Some people are trying to mislead the minds of Sikhs in particular. This country is proud of every Sikh. What have they not done for this country? However much we respect them, it will be less.”

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said Modi’s speech did not offer any solution for the protesting farmers but tried to divert the issue.

Lok Sabha begins work as logjam ends

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