Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed confidence that farmers will never spoil the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi. Singh made the statement in an interview with AajTak as he was asked about the government's preparations to manage the farmers' tractor rally, which is set to take place on January 26.
The defence minister said farmers will find a solution to the issue. "We believe that our farmers have a constructive approach. Other things are in the future so I can't say," he said, adding that the Republic Day celebrations are going to be smaller this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee appealed to farmers to assemble in large numbers at the Delhi borders a day before for the proposed parade on Republic Day.
Commenting on the opposition party's allegation that the three farm bills were forcefully passed by the Centre, Singh said, "the issue had been lingering on since the past 15-16 years, so it had to be clinched sometime or the other."
He reiterated that the three agricultural bills are in favour of farmers. "As a farmer myself, I have come to this decision that these laws will benefit farmers. But still, if farmers have an issue, I appeal to them to tell us which clause needs amendment, we will do it".
Singh also made an appeal to farmers to give the Supreme Court committee a chance. He urged them to put forward their views in front of the panel. "If the panel's report is not in their favour, the farmers can raise their voice," Singh added.
The Supreme Court has ordered a stay on the implementation of the contentious three new farm laws and also constituted a four-member panel of agri-experts to resolve the impasse between farmers' leaders and the Centre.
However, the farmer unions made it clear they will not call off the protests until the three laws are repealed. Farmers have claimed all four members of the committee had shown favour for the new farm laws by commenting on different media platforms so then how could they understand their grievances.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) procurement system for their crops.
Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.