Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said that even former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar — who served as the Agriculture Minister during the UPA government — wanted to implement reforms in the farm sector but could not due to ‘external forces’.
Tomar stated that many Chief Ministers had tried to implement the same farm laws that the Narendra Modi government has formulated for agriculture sector reforms in the country but could not implement them due to these external pressures.
While addressing farmer unions on Monday, Tomar said, “Many commissions, ministers, chief minister’s and governments have made an effort to work in the direction of farm sector reform. During the UPA regime, Dr Manmohan Singh and Sharad Pawar wanted to implement these reforms. However, due to some pressure, they couldn’t implement these laws.”
The statement came a day before the government is set to resume talks with farmers’ unions protesting against three Central farm laws. A joint committee of various farmers’ unions also met Narendra Singh Tomar to extend support to the farm laws on Monday.
“Now our Prime Minister is Narendra Modi. His only mission is development. His only mission is the well being of people. Any kind of force or pressure can not pressurise our Prime Minister. When these forces fail, they get frustrated,” the Union Agriculture Minister added.
Tomar cited examples of demonetisation, GST, abrogation of article 370 and article 35A and Citizenship Amendment Bill while explaining how various forces and some elements tried to use these to attack and criticise PM Modi.
On the issue of farm laws, Tomar said, in Punjab, these ‘forces’ tried to use the shoulders of farmers for their motive. “Prime Minister Modi got 303 seats in Lok Sabha because of your blessings. Can PM Modi make such a decision that will adversely impact farmers and villagers?” the Minister asked.
“The Prime Minister implemented demonetisation. There were elements who used to stand in queue and criticise the government. On GST, late Pranab Mukherjee praised the PM. Those forces again came in to being and started saying bad things about Modiji that his days were numbered. People said the BJP would lose Gujarat, which is a state dominated by industrialists. In Surat, GST had the most impact and by this logic we should have lost, people voted for Modi on every seat and for GST,” said Tomar.
If 370 abrogation was an election issue, our government would have done it in 2023 and not in 2019, argued the Union Agriculture Minister. He added that during the passage of Triple talaq and Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the country stood in support and anti-India forces remained ineffective.
In a clear indication that laws will stay, Tomar said that talks are going on with protesting farmers. “We want to resolve this by discussion. We respect our Annadatas. We will become self-reliant only when farmers become self-reliant,” he added.