Eleven Opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and Sitaram Yechury, on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making "baseless" allegations against them that they were “repeatedly lying” to the farmers about the new farm laws and “using them for their politics”.
The leaders issued a joint statement saying Modi's remarks were a "complete travesty of truth" and called for the repeal of the controversial laws before inviting protesting farmers and other stakeholders for a discussion on agrarian reforms.
On the basis of these consultations, the suggested new enactments may be considered by the Parliament, if necessary, by convening a special or a joint session.
Besides the top Congress, NCP and CPI(M) leaders, the statement was also signed by D Raja (CPI), T R Baalu (DMK), Farooq Abdullah (National Conference), Tejaswi Yadav (RJD), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Dipankar Bhattacharya (CPI-ML), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and Manoj Bhattacharya (RSP).
The leaders said they have expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers and their call for this "ongoing historic struggle" was given by more than 500 farmer organisations from all over the country under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM).
Many of them opposed these laws when they were being enacted in the Parliament, without discussions, or, proper consideration and MPs who sought a vote were suspended, they said.
"Amongst the many unsubstantiated accusations made, one of them is that those who spoke of agrarian reforms in election manifestos earlier but are now opposing. Yes, we are for reforms, but what sort of reforms? Opposition parties seek reforms to strengthen Indian agriculture; enhance the prosperity of our farmers; and ensure continued food security for our people and the country. The present farm laws undermine these very objectives," they said.
"Among the 'big lies' that the opposition is supposedly spreading is on the MSP, the PM claims to implement the Swaminathan Commission Report in this regard. This report had recommended an MSP of C2+50 per cent, while this government, at best, implements A2+50 per cent. In fact, this government told the Supreme Court its inability to implement C2+50 per cent MSP. Who is spreading untruths?" the statement said.
They also debunked the accusation that the Opposition parties were “shooting from the shoulders of the farmers” in order to “regain lost political ground”. Despite all tall claims of improving farmers’ prosperity and implementing a higher MSP, they said, the "fact remains" that farmers’ distress due to indebtedness is growing leaving a record number of them with no other recourse than committing distress suicides.
The leaders noted the "unity, grit and determination" being shown by farmers from Delhi’s neighbouring states in the midst of a severe cold wave in a peaceful manner and tens of thousands now on their way marching from different places to join this protest is a "testimony to the fact" that the farmers across the country have risen in opposition to these farm laws.
Already 32 farmers have lost their lives, they said demanding the repeal of the laws and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020.