Terming the Left parties' stand on the three farm laws "hypocritical", the BJP on Wednesday accused them of "exploiting" the farmers while in power in Tripura, Kerala and West Bengal. Wherever the Left parties were in power, there was "nothing left" for the farmers and the economy, party spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters. "For 25 years, till 2018, there was a Left government in Tripura. I feel sad in saying that there was no MSP in the state for 25 years. Today, the Left leaders are acting as well wishers of the farmers, but all they did was to exploit them.
"The first thing the BJP did after coming to power in Tripura in 2018 was procurement of paddy. As much as 48,716 tonnes of paddy was procured from 27,735 farmers at an expenditure of Rs 86.65 crore," he said. Under the Left government, farmers in Tripura were selling rice for Rs 10-12 per kilogramme. Now, under the BJP government they are selling it for Rs 18.50, he claimed.
Patra also remarked that the agricultural growth rate was 6.4 per cent when the Left was in power in Tripura in 2017-2018. "In two consecutive years -- 2018-19 and 2020-2021 -- it rose to 13.5 per cent," he said. "Wherever there is Left, the farmers have been exploited," the BJP spokesperson alleged. As for Kerala, he alleged that Left cadre ran the mandis in the state where private entities buy and sell produce.
In Bengal, Patra raised the issue of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act which, he said, was amended by the Left government and then "misused". "During the Left rule, the mandis existed. But before the farmers could reach there they had to pay 'tola' (extortion fee) charged at fake toll gates. This continues even now during TMC rule," he alleged.
The BJP leader also said while the growth of potato was high in West Bengal, contract of farmers with companies selling packaged chips was the norm in the state started by the Left. "But when we spoke about contract farming, the Left accused us of selling farmers to corporates. When they do it, it is fine, when we do it it's selling off to private entities.
"The Left government amended the APMC Act and gave MNCs entry... what they are saying now is hypocrisy and reflects their double standards. In their amendment there was no provision of payment to farmers within a stipulated time while we are saying that they should be paid within three days. So, who are the real well wishers of farmers?" Patra posed. Training his guns at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the BJP leader accused her of politicising the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which money is credited directly to the bank account of farmer.
The chief minister wanted money sent to the state government instead, he alleged. "Today, some representatives of TMC met the farmers. But the chief minister is saying send the money to our treasury. Basically she wants to create an election fund. It won't be an exaggeration to say that Bengal has fallen from the frying pan to the fire. First it was under the communist rule and now the Trinamool Congress," he said.