Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance on minimum support price (MSP) during his speech in Rajya Sabha on Monday (February 8) failed to break ice with protesting farmers as their leader Rakesh Tikait reiterated the demand for a law on MSP and repeal of the new farm laws.
Tikait spoke to media immediately after the Prime Minister’s Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in Rajya Sabha. Tikait said: “Desh mein bhook pe vyaapaar nahi hoga. Bhook kitni lagegi anaaj ki keemat utni hogi. Desh mein bhook se vyaapaar karne walon ko baahar nikaala jaaega (Business over hunger will not be allowed in the country. The more the hunger in the country, the more the price of grains will be. Those playing business over hunger will be driven out of the country)”.
Tikait further said, “The price of crops will not be decided like a flight ticket rate, which fluctuates three to four times a day.”
Earlier, Modi said in Rajya Sabha: “MSP tha, MSP hai aur MSP rahega (MSP was there, MSP is there, MSP will continue). Poor will continue to get ration while mandis will be modernised too.”
The PM appreciated the Sikh community’s contribution to the country, while saying that “some people were trying to make a living out of protests.” He said, “Unfortunately, some people are feeding wrong information in their minds. India is very proud of the Sikh community. The kind of language used for them, people who try to mislead them, this is not going to benefit anyone.”
Modi also took the opposition parties head on for taking a “U-turn” on agriculture reforms while also quoting his predecessor Manmohan Singh on the need for reforms in the farm sector.
Tikait said that efforts are on to divide the farmers’ protest on caste and religious lines. “This movement was first portrayed as Punjab’s issue, then Sikhs, then Jats. We want to tell you that farmers of India are one. There is no small farmer or big farmer. This is every farmer’s movement,” he said.