PM Narendra Modi (File image: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 30 sought to alleviate farmers fears pointing out that the government's decisions are meant to improve their lives and the new agricultural reforms will give them better legal protection.
"Farmers are being empowered by giving them options for a bigger market. Reforms are being done in the interest of farmers, which will give them more options. Shouldn't a farmer get the freedom to sell his produce directly to those who give them better prices and facilities?" PM Modi asked during his address at a function in Varanasi even as farmers' protests against the contentious farm bills continued.
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"Governments make policies... (and) it's obvious there would be questions asked of them. This is a part of democracy. But in the past few days, we have seen a different trend in India: before it used to be that if people did not like a government's decision, there used to be opposition, but now we are seeing that the opposition is due to rumours and propaganda," the prime minister said while ostensibly referring to the ongoing protests and the Bharatiya Janata Party's allegations that the farmers are being "misled" by the Opposition.
"Propaganda regarding things which have not yet happened is being spread... confusion is spread in the society regarding things which haven't happened, and which never will happen," PM Modi said, adding that it is spread by those people who have troubled the farmers all these years.
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Earlier, PM Modi had batted for the new laws on November 29 in 'Mann ki Baat', his monthly radio address, saying these reforms have given the farmers new rights and opportunities and have started mitigating their problems in a short span of time.
A meeting of over 30 farmer groups was also held earlier to discuss Union Home Minister Amit Shah's offer for talks before the scheduled date of December 3 once they move to Burari in the city, but the thousands of protesters refused to budge and prepared for spending another night in the cold at the Singhu and Tikri border points.Also Read | Farmers’ protest: Should have held talks with stakeholders before enacting farm laws, says BJP MP Brijendra Singh
Farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.
They have been demanding that these new laws should be repealed.
The Centre has invited several Punjab farm bodies for another round of talks in Delhi on December 3.