A day after Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest against three farm ordinance bills tabled by the Centre in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that "misinformation was being spread" to mislead farmers.
"Misinformation is being spread that farmers won't get right prices. They are forgetting how aware the country's farmers are," PM Modi said, addressing a rally in Bihar on September 18.
"Fake news is being spread that wheat and rice etc will not be procured by government agencies from farmers. This is an absolute lie, completely wrong and an attempt to deceive farmers," Prime Minister said.
The government is "committed to help farmers get right prices through Minimum Support Price," PM Modi said, amid massive agitations and opposition attacks over three farm bills that were passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Farmers across the country have raised concerns that they will not be paid at Minimum Support Price, while commission agents fear that they will lose their commission.
"Farmers are watching that some people are hating the new opportunities they are getting. Farmers are watching who are standing with middlemen," the PM said, referring to the centre's farm legislation "historic" and a protection for farmers.
PM Modi also said that the legislatures will empower them by giving them more options.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by voice vote as opposition members staged a walkout.
The ordinances seek to bring in private players in agriculture and promote hurdle-free sale of produce, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) member Harsimrat Kaur Badal's resignation came soon after her husband and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal opposed the bills in Lok Sabha, claiming that they will "destroy" the agriculture sector in Punjab.
After submitting her resignation to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Harsimrat said: "I don't want to be part of a government which brought farm sector bills without addressing apprehensions of farmers."
Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar lashed out at the Congress for protesting against the Bills. "Congress has always mentioned such reforms in its election manifesto but never had the courage to pursue them. Modi ji has liberated the farmers, I congratulate everyone for this," he was quoted as saying.