Congress MP Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha on Sunday.
Congress MP Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha on Sunday.

Our 2019 manifesto is horse, BJP tried to compare it with donkey: Ahmed Patel

ANI | Updated: Sep 20, 2020 18:19 IST

New Delhi [India], September 20 (ANI): Congress MP Ahmed Patel on Sunday attacked Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that his party's manifesto is a 'horse' and the BJP tried to compare it with a 'donkey.'

"I will talk about what BJP's President said about our manifesto. It is good that he studied our manifesto and brought out a few points from it to compare with their Bill. Our manifesto for Lok Sabha elections 2019 is a horse and they have tried to compare it with a donkey," Patel said during a discussion on agriculture reform bills in the Upper House.

"They have studied only two points out of 22 points we have listed in our manifesto. We have suggested reforms that aimed to help farmers but the current bills do not have anything to protect farmers. The bills protect corporates only," he added.

Patel alleged that the bills brought out by the Centre will "destroy the MSP system."

"They do not have money to allocate funds to Food Corporation of India (FCI) to purchase the crops," he added.

Patel further said that Congress promised to repeal APMC Act to free agricultural trade from all restrictions but we suggested this only after providing 5 major safeguards for the farmer.

“First, the current national average of area served by a mandi is 450 sq km. We wanted to repeal this and establish Farmer market with sufficient infrastructure in every major village. Second, We promised a dedicated policy for agricultural export and import to protect farmer interest. This ordinance is completely skewed to protect interest of corporate,” the Congress MP said.  

“Third, to fix MSP we also recommended repealing the existing Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and replacing it by a National Commission on Agricultural Development and Planning (NCADP). And we also said the NCADP will consist of farmers and their recommendation on MSP will be binding. Currently, CACP recommendation is not binding. Does this ordinance have this provision? No. In fact this ordinance is way to make the MSP redundant,” he said.

Speaking about the fourth safeguard, he said that the most important safeguard was the NYAY yojna where we promised Rs 72,000 a year to the 20 per cent poorest families in this country.

“With Rs 72,000 guaranteed income our farmers will be protected from any potential exploitation when we open agricultural trade. We challenge the BJP to implement this scheme first before brining this ordinance,” he said.

“Fifth, the Food Security Act of the UPA government covered 70 per cent of this population. This ensured the government increases procurement from farmers,” he said.

Patel said that the ordinance by the Centre doesn’t have single safeguard which Congress proposed and it is “malicious” to claim this ordinance was a part of its manifesto.

“On July 22, 2020 when the PM was speaking to US companies he was telling them about these ordinances and asking them to come and invest. Is this ordinance a way to centralise agriculture and hand it over to foreign companies?” he asked.

Earlier, BJP MP Bhupender Yadav attacked the Congress party for opposing the agriculture Bills in Rajya Sabha and asked the party why the income of hard-working farmers was not increased when Congress was in power.

YSRCP MP VV Reddy termed Congress as "a party of middlemen dalals" and said that there is no reason for Congress to oppose agricultural-related Bills.

While supporting the bills, Reddy said, "I want to bring the hypocrisy of Congress party. In their manifesto of Lok Sabha elections. They have said the same things which are in the bills and now they are not supporting the bills now? Those supporting it (Bills) are pro-farmers, those opposing it are pro-dalal."

The statements came during the debate when Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar moved two agriculture Bills in the Upper House.

Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed the Farmers' and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, amid protests by Opposition MPs.

The Bills were passed by voice vote in the Upper House. Both of these bills were passed by the Lower House with a voice vote a couple of days back.

Opposition MPs came in the well of the House and raised slogans against the bills. Soon after passage of these Bills, Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 9 am on Monday. (ANI)