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Opinion

Kerala passes resolution against agricultural laws

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A unanimous resolution passed by the Kerala assembly on Thursday against three contentious laws passed by the Center to open agricultural markets received support from an unexpected sector: the only member of the Chamber of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

O Rajagopal, 91, who was minister of state for railways in the government of Atal Bihari Vajapyee, initially opposed the resolution, but when it was put to the vote, he did not withdraw and supported it, to the surprise of both, the treasury. . and opposition benches.

After the session, when asked by journalists about his support for the resolution, he said that he supported it in accordance with the “democratic spirit of the house.”

“I stated my disagreement in clear terms. But I supported the substance of the resolution in accordance with the democratic spirit. There is nothing great about it, in a democracy, such compromises are common, “he said, expressing the hope that the agitation of farmers against agricultural laws will soon be resolved amicably.

When specifically asked if he wanted the bills dropped, he said that is why he had supported the resolution. After his stance sparked controversy in the BJP, he said it was wrong to say he was not opposed to the resolution and blamed the president for not seeking a vote split in the chamber.

The veteran’s ambiguous position has put the BJP, which had described the resolution as “a mere waste of time and money,” in an awkward position.

Read more | Lone BJP MLA endorses resolution passed by Kerala Assembly against agricultural laws

“There is no difference of opinion in the game. He is a senior leader and we do not think he would support the resolution. I will talk to him about this, ”said the party’s state chairman K Surendran. In Delhi, Kerala’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V Muraleedharan said he was not aware of what the senior leader in the chamber said, adding that the state unit will explain.

BJP leaders close to Rajagopal said they were unhappy with a growing factional dispute in the party’s state unit. After Surendran’s elevation, some senior leaders of the state unit were marginalized and the party’s attempt to negotiate peace between two prominent factions, one led by Muraleedharan and the other by PK Krishnadas, has been unsuccessful.

“His position literally shocked the party. The central leadership is also unhappy with that, ”said a party leader, who did not want to be named.

It was not the first time that Rajagopal provoked controversy. When the president was elected in the 2016 elections, he supported the candidate of the ruling Left Democratic Front, P Sreeramakrishnan. He said that he had endorsed Sreeramakrishnan because his name contains the names of Ram and Krishna.

Many left-wing leaders praised Rajagopal. “He made the right decision without considering its consequences,” said state finance minister Thomas Issac.

Hours earlier, Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presented the resolution urging the Center to withdraw the new laws and address the demands of farmers who have gathered on the Delhi borders to protest against the legislation. “The Center wants to corporatize the agricultural sector. It must be presented to allay farmers’ fears. The whole country is with them. It should acknowledge the sentiments of the public and withdraw the new laws, ”Vijayan said.

All 140 members of the assembly supported his resolution.

Basically, the laws change the way Indian farmers do business by creating free markets rather than a decades-old network of government markets, allowing traders to store essential commodities for future sales and establish a framework. national for contract farming. Farmers say the reforms will make them vulnerable to exploitation by large corporations, erode their bargaining power and weaken the government’s procurement system.

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