Parliament session will be stormy if farmers’ demands not met: Cong’s chief whip

NEW DELHI, 24 Jan: The upcoming parliament session will be ‘stormy’ if farmers’ demand of repealing of the new agri laws is not accepted by the government, Congress’ Lok Sabha chief whip Kodikunnil Suresh said on Sunday, asserting that his party will strongly raise the issue of the tillers’ agitation in both houses.

The budget session of Parliament is starting from 29 January and it will be held in two parts. The first part will conclude on 15 February and the second part will be held from 8 March to 8 April.

Suresh said issues such as farmers’ agitation and the purported WhatsApp chats of Republic’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami will be raised by the Congress strongly.

“Our main priority is the farmers’ agitation and we plan to strongly raise the farmers’ issue both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. We will make use of all measures such as adjournment motion to discuss and debate the issue,” he told PTI.

“We are also in touch with likeminded parties to have a joint strategy for the upcoming parliament session with the main issue being the farmers’ agitation,” he said.

The Congress understands the “plight” of farmers who for over 60 days have been on the streets and “more than 145 of them have lost their lives,” so it has to be raised inside Parliament strongly, the party’s chief whip and MP from Kerala said.

“The farmers’ demand is that the farm laws be withdrawn, but the government is not agreeing to it; so, naturally, the session will be stormy and we can’t cooperate if farmers are being ignored, we can’t close our eyes, we have to express their anguish,” he said.

If farmers are on the streets, it will be reflected in the house as farmers are the backbone of the country, Suresh said.

The government’s negotiations with representatives of thousands of protesting farmers hit a roadblock on Friday as the unions squarely rejected the Centre’s proposal to put three contentious laws on hold, while the agriculture minister blamed external “forces” for their rigid stand and said no resolution is possible when the sanctity of agitation is lost.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since 28 November last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the MSP system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. (PTI)