New Delhi: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal on Monday demanded that the Centre withdraw the contentious farm laws that have set off a storm among the farmers in the country. Referring to the ongoing protest by lakhs of farmers at the borders of Delhi for over two months, BJD’s Pinaki Mishra said, “This crisis has arisen due to unilateral bulldozing on behalf of the government”.
“Our demand is that the government withdraw all the three laws and bring new agricultural reform bills again and send them to the Standing Committee or a Select Committee so a fresh discussion can be held on them,” BJD’s Pinaki Mishra said today.
“This has always been our demand,” added the MP from Puri. “If the three new laws had already been sent to the Select Committee or a Standing Committee, there would have been a discussion in detail. Then this movement would not have stood today,” he added.
This is the first public statement opposing the laws from the party led by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, which has so far lent issue-based support to the Centre.
The BJD had initially supported the proposed farm bills in the Lok Sabha, but ahead of their passing in the Rajya Sabha, the party had opposed the bills, taking everyone by surprise.
The bills had made it through the upper house by voice vote amid unprecedented uproar and protests. The opposition claimed the government did not have the numbers and there was rampant violation of rules to help the BJP.
In September last year, the BJD had formed a panel of its MPs, MLAs and farm leaders to study the provisions of three new farm sector legislations.
Addressing the party MLAs ahead of the monsoon session of the state assembly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said, “In both houses of Parliament, BJD raised its concerns regarding protection of farmers interest in the farmers’ Bills and suggested deliberation by the Parliamentary Standing Committee”.
The farm unions of the state, however, had not been happy with the government’s failure to spell out its stand, calling its opposition to the bills “half-hearted”.
Even before the beginning of the Budget session in parliament, the matter was not discussed in the BJD Parliamentary Party meeting.
The state government had earlier issued an ordinance and later introduced three bills in the state assembly in line with the central legislations. The bills are, however, yet to come up for discussion in the assembly.