CPI, CPI(M) and other Left party leaders in Telangana on Monday protested in Hyderabad against the NDA government's three new farm laws, while a Congress leader observed a fast in support of the ongoing agitation by farmers in the national capital. CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy, his CPI(M) counterpart Tammineni Veerabhadram and other Left leaders took part in the protest at Indira Park.
They held placards demanding abrogation of the three "pro-corporate" farm laws and boycott of certain big corporates.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao observed a fast from 10 am to 4 pm at his residence in Hyderabad in support of the ongoing stir by farmers in Delhi.
Hanumantha Rao called off his fast with Congress leader and former vice-chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Marri Shashidhar Reddy offering a mango drink to him, Congress sources said.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy on Monday said that farmers and political parties should not 'blindly oppose' the farm laws or demand their repeal, but study them in detail as the Centre was ready to address their concerns.
The laws brought out by the Centre are in public domain and farmers could seek clarifications from anyone, including himself, at any time, he said.
Reddy said the NDA government decided to reach out to farmers and outfits supporting their cause in view of attempts to 'provoke' them and bring a bad name to it by some who were unable to take on the BJP and the Prime Minister politically.
He said the NDA has tried to address problems in the farm sector like shortage of power and fertilisers and brought out initiatives like soil health cards, loans to farmers, crop insurance, eNAM, DBT (direct benefit transfer) to farmers and increasing Minimum Support Price, he said.
The MoS for Home Affairs claimed that farmers all over the country, except in Punjab, have welcomed the new farm laws. "We made a beginning for the revolutionary change that has been sought for decades in the agriculture sector. I urge political parties, except Punjab...farmers are not opposing. But don't oppose blindly. Don't oppose the laws out of political animosity towards BJP or Modi. See the laws. I request political parties also. We in the Modi government will clarify any issues in the laws that are troubling you. If necessary, we are ready to change them. But seeking repeal of legislation is not a good tradition," he said.
Stating that the government is willing to make changes in the laws, he said it was ready to give legal status to MSP.
Citing an example of a farmer from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, Reddy said he could not sell his produce in Bengaluru in view of the previous ban on inter-state movement (or trade), but could do so now as restrictions on transport of agriculture products have been removed
If the laws are to be repealed as was being demanded, the removal of the restrictions would also go, he said.
On Rahul Gandhi taking the names of big corporates over the farm laws, Reddy said he cannot help it if the Congress leader did not know as to during whose regime, retail supermarkets of these companies came into existence.
"The big corporates entered the farm sector during the UPA regime," he alleged.