Talks with agriculture minister only a phone call away: Modi
New Delhi: The Prime Minister on Saturday told leaders of various political parties that the government has been continuously trying to resolve the issues raised by protesting farmers through talks.
Addressing floor leaders of various political parties at the customary all-party meeting convened by the government for the smooth conduct of the Budget Session, the Prime Minister said the that Centre’s proposal on the three new agriculture laws still stands.
Virtually addressing the party leaders, Narendra Modi told them that agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar was just a phone call away for protesting farmers and the agriculture minister himself had conveyed the same to farmer leaders earlier this month.
Sharing the details of the meeting chaired by Modi and attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh, parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi said, “The Prime Minister assured that the Centre is approaching the farmers issue with an open mind.”
Emphasising on the need for smooth functioning of Parliament, Modi said smaller parties suffer the most due to disruptions as they do not get chance to raise their issues.
“It is for the bigger parties to ensure Parliament functions smoothly, there are no disruptions and thus, the smaller parties are able to voice their views in Parliament,” Joshi said citing Modi’s remarks.
The all-party meeting is convened for the government to put forth its legislative agenda before political parties. Leaders from various parties flag issues they wish to raise during the meeting.
The Prime Minister also condemned the vandalism of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in California in the US, the parliamentary affairs minister said.
“The Prime Minister said the Centre’s stand is same as it was on January 22, the last meeting between the protesting farmers and the Centre and proposal given by Agriculture Minister on the farm laws still stands. Modiji reiterated what Tomarji had said - that he (Narendra Singh Tomar) is phone call away for talks,” Mr Joshi said, quoting Modi.
The all-party meeting is convened for the government to put forth its legislative agenda before political parties at the commencement of a parliamentary session. Leaders from various parties flag issues they wish to raise during the meeting.
At the meeting, various leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay of Trinamul Congress, Balwinder Singh Bhunder of Shiromani Akali Dal and Vinayak Raut of Shiv Sena raised the issue of protesting farmers, sources said.
While almost all opposition parties condemned the violence and vandalism at the Red Fort by a group of protesting farmers on Republic Day, they asserted that other farmers protesting peacefully should not be held responsible for it.
Meanwhile, the BJD demanded the passage of women’s reservation bill during the budget session, which was supported by the YSR Congress and the TRS.
TMC’s Bandyopadhyay said boycott of President’s address by 20 opposition parties was a strong message for the government to withdraw the farm laws, the sources said.