Opposition boycotts Parliament over farm Bills

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New Delhi, September 22

The Congress-led Opposition today intensified its agitation against the three farm-related Bills passed by Parliament and announced to boycott proceedings in both Houses till their demands were met.

The TMC, AAP, Left, NC, NCP, BSP and TRS joined the Congress in boycott. They are demanding legal guarantee for the minimum support price (MSP) regime and assurance that the state agencies will honour MSP and the support prices will be determined in line with the MS Swaminathan committee report.

With the Opposition deciding to boycott House proceedings, the eight suspended MPs on Tuesday ended their overnight sit-in inside the Parliament House complex and said they would now take their fight against the farm Bills to the streets.

Although Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had initially listed revocation of eight MPs’ suspension among the conditions to end boycott, he later said this was a request.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, said the revocation of suspension could be considered if they regretted “their behaviour with House Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh”, who observed a daylong fast over the unsavoury developments.

The Opposition boycott comes ahead of the September 25 Bharat Bandh call given by over 250 farmer outfits under the banner of All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee.

Most parties have already planned to hold agitations to express solidarity with farmers. The Congress will get a petition against the Bills signed by 2 crore farmers and submit it to the President on November 14.

“The government must bring a Bill declaring it illegal for private players to buy foodgrains below MSP and to say that the state agencies will honour the MSP besides declaring fixation of MSPs on the Swaminathan committee’s recommendations. We will boycott proceedings till these three conditions are met,” Azad said.

The Congress added if presidential assent to the Bill comes through, an assurance from the PM or the Agriculture Minister should be made in Parliament about no private player being allowed to buy agricultural produce below MSP.

The Congress is also mulling legal options over the manner in which the Bills were got passed.

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