Opposition will move for repeal of farm laws in Budget session

If the Left parties, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, YSRCP, TRS oppose it, the government would not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha: Sitaram Yechury

Opposition parties will move for a repeal of the three contentious farm reform laws during the Budget session of Parliament, according to Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Speaking on the sidelines of a convention of Left political parties organised in support of the farmers’ movement, Mr. Yechury said that he expected parties like the Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to support the move for a repeal. “With all of these parties opposing them, the government would not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha on this issue,” he said.

“In fact, the original passing of these laws in the Rajya Sabha in September was done through a fraud,” said Mr. Yechury, arguing that if a division, or recorded vote, had been taken in the Upper House as Opposition MPs had demanded, the government would not have won. The Bills were ultimately passed by a voice vote amid vociferous protest.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat argued that the way the laws were passed “shows the government’s contempt for democracy”. She decried the lack of consultations with State governments, and other stakeholders, and the government’s refusal to send the Bills to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

“In September, when there were 1 lakh COVID cases a day, the government called Parliament just to push through the ordinances. But in December, when there were only 30,000 cases a day, they used COVID as an excuse not to convene Parliament to discuss the crisis and the farmers’ demand for repeal,” she said.

Ms. Karat urged all Opposition parties to come out openly in support of farmers, and support the call for repeal both within and outside Parliament. “Not to do so would be a betrayal of farmers,” she said.

It is unusual and problematic that the Supreme Court used a political, rather than legal rationale for its order, arguing that a stay on implementation of the laws would give the farmers a perception of achievement so they would dismantle their protest and go home, said Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) leader Kavita Krishnan. “Perception is the government’s headache, so why is the Supreme Court taking on this headache for them?” she asked.

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