Opposition parties to meet President Ram Nath Kovind over farmers' protest today
New Delhi, Dec 09: As many as six opposition party leaders are likely to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday to discuss the farmers' protest against three newly enacted agricultural laws that have angered farmers, and seek the repeal of the legislation pushed through by the Centre in September.
On Tuesday, the Congress said it was not against farm sector reforms, but the laws introduced by the BJP government did not reflect reforms. The party also reiterated its demand for convening a special session of Parliament to scrap the three laws.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Opposition leaders will hold talks to forge a collective stand on the contentious farm laws before meeting the President at 5 pm.
"Tomorrow 5-6 people from different political parties are going to sit, discuss and take a collective stand. We will present our collective stand before the President," Pawar said.
The recent reforms in the farm sector allow businesses to freely trade farm produce outside the government-controlled mandi system, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.
However, the farmers fear the reforms could pave the way for the government to stop buying staples at federally fixed minimum support prices (MSPs), erode their bargaining power and leave them at the mercy of private buyers.
Apart from the NCP, other Opposition parties likely to attend the meeting include the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), a last-minute addition to the delegation.