Suspended Congress leader Sanjay Jha on Friday said the opposition party and the BJP were on the same page on the farm sector bills as the Congress had before the 2019 parliamentary elections proposed abolition of the APMC Act to make agricultural produce free from restrictions. Jha, who was suspended a few months ago, sought to embarrass the Congress saying opening up the national market for farmers is a sensible move and was a welcome step.
His tweets found favour with the BJP, whose IT department head Amit Malviya said Jha is the only person who seems to have read the Congress manifesto and is appalled at the duplicity of its leadership. Jha also said the amendment in the Essential Commodities Act is consistent with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's own intent earlier and "will benefit what Congress's FDI in multi-brand envisaged. Bipartisan politics please!" "Folks, in our Congress Manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, we had ourselves proposed abolition of APMC Act and making agricultural produce free from restrictions. This is what Modi government has done in the farmers bills. BJP and Congress are on the same page here," the suspended Congress leader said on Twitter.
Responding to his tweet, Malviya said, "The only person, who seems to have read the Congress manifesto, remembers it and is appalled at the duplicity of its leadership, who are conveniently abroad, while the Parliament is on and important steps to empower farmers are being taken…" Jha also said, "Opening up the national market for farmers is a sensible move to give greater control over fair to attractive remuneration; less middlemen will boost farmer profitability. Protection against corporate exploitation can be built-in, as an assured MSP. Prima facie, welcome step!" He said the farm bills eliminate middlemen and "isn't that supposed to be BJP's core vote-bank?"
Malviya, in another tweet, said, "Congress can ignore their manifesto but how about Dr Manmohan Singh?" He also put out the link to a report of February 2012 where then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged states to amend the APMC Act. Lok Sabha has passed the bills — the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. They are likely to be taken up in Rajya Sabha soon.