Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, December 14, tore a copy of the farm laws in the Assembly in protest against the legislation. The Chief Minister asked the government to "not become worse than the British".
"What was the hurry to get the farm laws passed in Parliament during the [coronavirus] pandemic?" CM Kejriwal asked at a special session of the Delhi Assembly.
"It has happened for the first time that three laws were passed without voting in Rajya Sabha...I hereby tear the three farm laws in this Assembly and appeal to the Centre to not become worse than the Britishers," he said.
Kejriwal said he was "pained" to have to tear the copies of farm laws. "But I cannot betray the farmers of my country who have been sleeping on the streets in the cold when the temperature is 2 degrees Celsius," he added.
Kejriwal, during his speech, referred to the Pagri Sambhal Jatta movement, a farmers' protest initiated by Bhagat Singh's father during the time of British rule in India. The agitation was organised by Punjabi farmers against anti-farmer laws or the Punjab Colonisation Act (Amendment), 1906.
"What is happening today has happened before in 1907," Kejriwal said. "For nine months the farmers of Punjab had fought the British against the anti-farmer laws. At the time, too, the British government offered to make amendments to the laws. But the farmers remained adamant till the laws were repealed after nine months."
He also asked how many more sacrifices would it take for the centre to finally accept the demands of farmers.
"Every farmer has become Bhagat Singh today," he added. "Almost every day, a farmer is attaining martyrdom...20 protesting farmers have died so far. I want to ask Centre how many sacrifices farmers will have to make, to get their voices heard?"
After the session, Kejriwal told the media that the Delhi Assembly had rejected the three "black laws", and appealed to the Centre to repeal them.
The Aam Aadmi Party chief has accused the government of misleading the farmers.
"The government is saying that they are reaching out to farmers and trying to explain the benefits of farm bills," Kejriwal said. "Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister [Adityanath] told farmers that they'll benefit from these bills as their land won't be taken away. Is that a benefit?"
He also said that due to the three laws "big capitalists will sell produce at a higher rate", which will lead to an increase in price.
Reacting to the incident, former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday accused Kejriwal of "indulging in cheap theatrics" by tearing copies of the farm laws and called him out for suddenly realising that farmers are sitting out in freezing temperatures.
"The Delhi chief minister is only shedding crocodile tears in a desperate bid to wipe away the blot he has put on his name by rushing to notify the farm laws on the directions of the central government," Badal said. "These dramas however won't help."
BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi also attacked the Delhi CM and said that it was Kejriwal's government that had notified one of the three legislations on November 23.
"Now they are tearing copies of the same act in the Delhi Assembly," she said. "This is opportunistic politics. The Delhi chief minister is the new chameleon, he can just change colours without qualms."