'Don't want credit, just want to improve farmers lives'

'Don't want credit': PM Modi slams Opposition over politics on farm laws

Modi said farm sector reforms were long overdue and introduced after widespread consultations with a cross-section of experts and farmers' representatives

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI Photo

A combative Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hit out at the Opposition for "creating hurdles" in the farm sector reforms initiated during the UPA regime, out of sheer apprehension of BJP getting credit for bringing long-awaited changes to agriculture in the country.

"Their problem is how Modi has done it. Why Modi should get credit for it. Give credit to your manifesto and not to me. I just want the progress of farmers, but stop misleading them on the issue," Modi said, addressing a virtual farmers' meeting organised across Madhya Pradesh.

Track updates on farmers' protests here

BJP's all-out efforts to woo farmers, at a time when thousands were demonstrating on the borders of the national capital, was apparent as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen showering petals on the gathering of farmers in Raisen in Madhya Pradesh.

Modi said farm sector reforms were long overdue and introduced after widespread consultations with a cross-section of experts and farmers' representatives.

"The new agriculture laws have not come overnight but political parties, agriculture experts and progressive farmers have demanded it for a long time.

"In the last 20-22 years, the Centre and the state governments have deliberated on these agriculture reforms in detail. Farmer bodies, agriculture scientists and farmers too were continuously demanding them," he said.

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The Prime Minister sought to dispel apprehension over scrapping of the minimum support price and APMC system.

"Not a single mandi was closed in the last six months. In fact, the government is spending Rs 500 crore on their modernisation," Modi said.

Seeking to reassure farmers on MSP, he said the NDA government had procured more food grains at MSP than previous governments.

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"Over six months have passed since the implementation of the new agriculture laws, and crops were purchased at MSP even during the coronavirus pandemic and in the same mandis (APMC markets) where farmers used to sell (earlier). No sane person will accept that MSP will be scrapped. Nothing will be a bigger lie and conspiracy than this," Modi said, assuring that MSP for crops will continue.

The prime minister accused the Opposition parties of "sitting on the Swaminathan Committee report for eight years" during the UPA rule.

"Our government treated farmers as "annadata" and implemented the Swaminathan Committee report. We have given 1.5 times more MSP than the cost of production," the Prime Minister said.