Very few farmers are backing the protests at Delhi borders against the new farm laws, and "anti-nationals" have infiltrated the agitation, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel claimed on Thursday. The agitation was a conspiracy to malign Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image, he alleged.
He was speaking at Morva Hadaf in Panchmahal district as part of the ruling BJP's campaign to counter the agitators' narrative. "Except in Delhi, there are no protests anywhere in the country. No one is agitating in Gujarat. Some 50,000 persons from a population of 130 crore want the government to scrap the laws which are passed by Parliament," he said.
"What is the meaning of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha if we have to follow orders of 50,000 persons," Patel said. "While Gujarat has already made changes in the APMC Act, Modi brought these laws for the entire country because they are necessary. If industries are allowed to sell their products anywhere in the country, why can't the farmers? Even Congress was in favour of such reforms but could not implement them when it was in power," he said.
"Anti-nationals, leftists, Khalistanis, pro-China elements and members of Tukde-Tukde gang" have infiltrated the protests and pumping in money to keep the farmers at protest venues, the BJP leader alleged. "Not even one per cent (of farmers) are against these laws. The Congress is trying hard to incite people but not getting any support.
"Some elements, not farmers, are behind this agitation, which is actually a conspiracy. These elements want to malign PM Modi's image and want to present a distorted picture about India to the world," he said. "Should we scrap these laws just because 50,000 persons from a population of 130 crore do not like them? If we do that, another 50,000 would gather tomorrow demanding scrapping of Citizenship Amendment Act….pro-Pakistan elements may one day ask to roll back the decision about Article 370," Patel added.
Farmers have been protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.