Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday alleged that corporates are allowed to enter into contract farming in the Congress-ruled Punjab while the party is opposing the new farm laws. Among other things, the new laws enacted by the Union government provide a framework for contracts between private entities and farmers.
Addressing a gathering at Karamsad in Anand district as part of the BJP's campaign to create awareness about the contentious farm sector reforms, Rupani also claimed that the Congress manifesto spoke about allowing the sale of produce outside Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). "I must ask Congress, why your government in Punjab, your chief minister (Amarinder Singh) granted permission for contract farming to large companies and distributed permission letters from the stage?" Rupani said.
"And now they are out to oppose contract farming?" he asked. "Contract farming is the future. In contract farming, farmers are assured of the price they will get for their produce," he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had in the past written letters to chief ministers of party-ruled states seeking that farmers be allowed to sell their produce in open markets, and the same promise was made in the party's 2019 election manifesto, Rupani further claimed. APMCs will continue to function contrary to the fear that they will be abolished, and the Centre as well as the Gujarat government have earmarked crores of rupees for their modernization, Rupani said.
His government gave farm loans at zero percent interest, he said. "If the Congress is so much concerned about farmers, then give loans to them at zero percent interest in (Congress- ruled) Rajasthan," he said.
He also dared the Congress to state how many farmers benefited from loan waiver in Madhya Pradesh during its rule. "Anti-national elements" who do not want to see the country progress and farmers lead a happy life have joined the agitation against the new farm laws, Rupani alleged.
"Farmers are not part of it. Farmers across the country did not participate in the Bharat Bandh call given by the opposition," he claimed.