Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is on a day-long hunger strike to show solidarity with protesting farmers, said on Monday those who should be tilling their fields are sitting in biting cold as he charged that the country will see prices rise by 16 times in the next four years. “Our farmers are in peril these days. Those who should be tilling their fields are sitting in the biting cold. But I am happy people in the country including the army, lawyers, actors, doctors, are with them,” Kejriwal said in the national capital. “We are with farmers too,” the AAP chief said.
Kejriwal also said that the new farm laws will force a price rise by 16 times in the next four years. “Not 16%, but 16 times. Twice in one year, four times in two years, eight times in 3 years and 16 times in 4 years. That’s actually allowed in the new law,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Thousands of farmers have been engaged in a high-intensity stir since late November protesting the three recently-cleared farm laws, alleging that they will reduce their earnings in the market and give more power to corporations. In a bid to resolve the standoff, the government has engaged with farmers in five rounds of talks but without any resolution.
On Sunday, Kejriwal had urged the central government to roll back the three contentious farm laws – which have triggered the protests — that were passed by Parliament in September and demanded a new bill to ensure minimum support prices (MSP) for farmers be drafted at the earliest.
“I request all party (AAP) supporters and people across the country to observe fast for a day tomorrow (Monday) in solidarity with protesting farmers. I shall be observing a day’s fast too… Let’s support our farmers from our homes. I understand that it is not possible for many of us to be physically present at the (state) border points where the protesting farmer groups have gathered,” said the chief minister, in a video press briefing on Sunday.
The farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, in their “Delhi Chalo” march, had demanded that the ruling dispensation agrees to hear their objections on the clearance of the farm laws which, collectively, have paved way for agribusinesses to freely trade farm produce without restrictions, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.
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