Farmers came out on the roads because Modi government tried to suppress their voice: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

‘The attitude of Prime Minister Modi is nothing short of arrogant, which is why he is not listening to the voice of the people and the Opposition leaders,’ he said

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who never misses an opportunity to take on the NDA government at the Centre, has taken a strong stand in favour of the farmers protesting against the three farm laws. He has supported the call for Bharat Bandh on December 8 and the views of Rahul Gandhi on the farmers’ issue.

“Who forced them to come on the roads and agitate? It’s the NDA government’s poor vision that has agitated the farmers. The Modi government has thrown away all constitutional and democratic methods. The NDA government did not talk to the states on the issue of the farm bills and they were passed without taking the people in confidence. The farmer’s agitation is the result of that,” he said.

Gehlot questioned the role of the President and Governors on the issue. The Rajasthan Governor has so far withheld the farm Bills passed by the Assembly, saying he was ‘reviewing’ them. Gehlot has been critical of the President not responding to requests of four Congress-ruled states’ CMs seeking an appointment with him to discuss the farm laws and the farmers’ agitation.

“The Central government is not hearing the people and not talking to the Opposition and various farmers’ organization. Governor is sitting on the Bills passed by the Assembly. President is not granting grant appointments to the Chief Ministers of non-BJP ruled states. How will the public express its feelings to the Central government?” Gehlot said.

Gehlot has been very critical of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and decried his “arrogant stance”. “The attitude of Prime Minister Modi is nothing short of arrogant, which is why he is not listening to the voice of the people and the Opposition leaders. Protests, memorandums, sit-ins, dharnas against the Modi government are due to its policies and decisions. Opposing the government cannot be termed anti-national or treason. The farmers came out on the roads because Modi government tried to suppress their voice. The Modi government failed to read the hint when Rahul Gandhi and Amarinder Singh took out a tractor rally in Punjab in support of the farmers,” said Gehlot, a seasoned politician who, having been a Union minister for long, understands the Delhi durbar.

Gehlot, who earned the accolades of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the way the state managed the coronavirus crisis, has been critical of the NDA government on the issue of farm Bills from the beginning. After Punjab, Rajasthan was the second state to convene a special session of the Vidhan Sabha to pass farm Bills to dilute the provision of the Centre’s farm laws.

The initiative taken by Gehlot urging the Union government to enact provisions for remedial measures against the multi-state cooperative societies under the Centre’s administration was also hailed. Gehlot had also strongly opposed the amendments made under the Banking Regulation Act in September this year, which gave the control of the cooperative banks to the Reserve Bank of India.

Gehlot closely studied the provisions of the amendments which were passed by the Lok Sabha in September. The state has close to 35,000 cooperative societies in the areas of agriculture and wholesale milk consumers. But the amendments will be applicable on the 35 urban cooperative banks, 29 Kendriya Sahkari banks and an Apex banks. These are working in the cooperative bank services. The change in the amendments has made the functions of the cooperative banks difficult by bringing them under the direct control of the RBI.

As a result, the administrative control of the co-operative banks under the state government will go to the RBI, which is an encroachment on the principle of co-operative federalism.

He said under the amended provisions, the principle of one-member-one-vote does not hold any longer. The previous structure and provisions must be restored in the interest of cooperatives.

The Gehlot government will soon be completing two years in office, but because of the pandemic, there would not be any celebrations. But the Chief Minister is likely to announce several welfare schemes to mark the occasion.

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