Kejriwal to fast for a day over farm bills, urges govt to repeal new laws

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he will observe a day-long fast on Monday in response to a call given by farmers protesting against three new farm laws, and appealed to the BJP-ruled Centre to shun ego and scrap the legislations.

Addressing a virtual press briefing on Sunday, the chief minister asked the Centre bring a Bill to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce.

Kejriwal said he will hold one-day fast on Monday in response to a call given by the agitating farmers and urged his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers, supporters as well as the people of the country to join in.

"I want to appeal to the central government to put an end to their ego. The governments are formed by the public, the public is not formed by the governments. The three farm laws should be immediately repealed and a Bill should be brought to guarantee MSP to farmers," he said.

The chief minister said the Centre should immediately accept all demands of the farmers who have been protesting on Delhi's borders for the past two weeks.

Kejriwal expressed anguish that some central ministers and BJP leaders were labelling protesting farmers as "traitors and anti-nationals".

"I want to ask them, if so many ex-servicemen, national and international sportspersons, singers and celebrities, lawyers and traders supporting and joining them, are all anti-national?" he questioned.

The BJP should not think wrongly that only a few farmers from Punjab and Haryana and only a few people are in this movement.

Kejriwal compared the "defaming" of the farmers protest with the Anna Hazare's movement of which he was a top leader.

"I could not help but reminisce the days of Anna Hazare Ji's movement. The Congress government defamed us as anti-nationals. What Congress did to our movement, the BJP is doing the same to the farmers protest," he said.

The chief minister claimed that even the middle-upper class people were against the farm laws and believed it will lead to price rise.

"Until now, hoarding in this country was a crime, but under the Centre's new farm laws any person can hoard any amount of grains and it is no longer considered a crime.

"This also means that there will be high inflation. People can hoard till the time the inflation rate doubles every year. For instance, the prices of wheat grains will double from Rs 20 this year to Rs 40 next year, and then Rs 80, and then Rs 160, and so on," he added.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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