Farmers’ protest: Kejriwal seeks compensation, guarantee for MSP

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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday asked the Centre to compensate families of farmers who lost their lives during the agitation against the three farm laws, provide guarantee for Minimum Support Prices (MSP), withdraw cases against farmers, and immediately sack union minister Ajay Mishra.

Speaking in the Delhi assembly, he said the farmers have restored people’s faith in democracy.

Kejriwal referred to the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, which was triggered after a convoy of cars, including one belonging to Mishra, mowed down protesting farmers. Kejriwal questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government over the delay in sacking Mishra, whose son has been arrested for his alleged role in the violence that left eight people dead. “The Lakhimpur incident is very painful… Why cannot the Centre remove him? I do not know what is their compulsion, but the entire country wants that he (Mishra) should be removed.”

The Delhi assembly also passed a resolution during a special session on the first anniversary of the year-long farmers’ protest on Friday demanding 1 crore compensation for families of 700 farmers who died during the protest, withdrawal of cases against farmers, guaranteed MSP and action against Mishra.

Kejriwal lauded the farmers for their patience and peaceful protest despite being called “anti-nationals” by BJP members. Kejriwal praised farmers of poll-bound Punjab, where his Aam Aadmi Party emerged as a significant force in the 2017 polls, for leading the protest.

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“This is the longest farmers’ protest in the world. Over 700 farmers were martyred while fighting against their own government. The ruling party did not leave any chance to instigate them. They were called anti-nationals, Khalistanis, Pakistani agents, etc… But their peaceful protest destroyed the government’s ego,” said Kejriwal.

He said the peaceful protest compelled the government to announce repeal the three farm laws. “This is not just farmers’ victory; it is the victory of democracy. In the past few years, people had started losing faith in the democratic system ever since they (BJP) came to power with a majority. But this has reinstated people’s faith in democracy,” said Kejriwal. He said his government opposed the farm laws since day one and supported the farmers. “People are kept in stadiums to crush a movement. We have stayed in stadiums during our Anna movement days. We did not allow our stadiums to be turned into jails,” said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal took pot-shots at BJP leaders and said they called both the decisions–the introduction of the farm laws and then the announcement of their repeal–“masterstrokes”.

Environment minister Gopal Rai, who proposed the resolution in the assembly, said the Centre has decided to repeal the law. “But the laws were prepared and passed without any discussion with the farmers. It is not good for democracy. Even now the government is not talking to farmers.”

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