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BJP mulls mega exercise to reach out to farmers to clear misgivings about farm bills

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New Delhi, Sep 21: The BJP is planning a mega exercise to reach out to farmers to counter the Opposition''s narrative on farm bills and attempts to create misgivings on the MSP issue, sources said on Monday.

Narendra Modi

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has held series of meetings with MPs and Union Ministers from Punjab and Haryana and surrounding states, and virtual interactions with state agricultural ministers of all BJP-led NDA ruled states where he briefed them about the merits of the two bills, the sources said.

Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill was passed by both the house of parliament, amid protests by opposition parties like the Congress, TMC, DMK and the Left, as well as some farmer groups.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a leader of the BJP''s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal, had resigned from Union Cabinet in protest against the bills.

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Sources said Tomar also reached out to the office bearers of BJP''s ideological parent RSS as well as the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and Swadesi Jagaran Manch. Both the RSS affiliates have reservations about the bill and came out in the open with their objections.

Members of Parliament from Haryana, Punjab and neighbouring states have been given talking points to address their constituents, especially farmers, and clear any misgiving created by the Opposition about the MSP in the context of these bills, the sources said. The Opposition has alleged that the government intends to do away with the safety net of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the mandi system, a charge denied by the government which has accused these parties of misleading farmers.

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    The government on Monday hiked the minimum support price for buying six rabi crops, including wheat, by up to six per cent, as it sought to send a strong message to farmers on the continuation of the MSP-based procurement system.

    The BJP has asked all state units of its Kisan Morcha, MPs and ministers in Union and state governments to categorically convey to farmers and all other state holders in the agriculture sector that the mechanism of minimum support price will be intact even after the implementation of these two bills, they said.

    Tomar has also briefed the spokespersons of the party''s national team and state units about the salient features of these two bills and also on the MSP mechanism.

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