“We have agreement on some of the issues raised by these farmer unions. BKS never participates in any movement which could turn violent or damage national property,” BKS general secretary Badri Narayan Choudhary told ET. “If you go through the list of demands of these agitating unions, they are also demanding clearance for GM crops. This means anti-national corporates have entered into their movement.”
The BKS is also not part of the talks between the government and other farmer unions. Its general secretary Dinesh Kulkarni termed the protests politically motivated. “Mostly there are unions from Punjab and all Left parties’ unions are in the protests. While some of their demands are reasonable, the agitation looks politically motivated,” he said.
“We will decide our course of action after the outcome of the meetings with the government. We were the first to raise the issue of these three bills before the government,” said Kulkarni.
The union had demanded legalising minimum support price for crops under the legislation or bringing a new bill for the purpose. It had also demanded mandatory registration of traders who would buy from farmers.
The third demand was to establish agriculture courts in each district so that all the matters may be dealt in these courts in the farmer’s district. It had also raised objections over contract farming. “Under these bills even corporates are qualified as farmers on account of contract farming. The definition should include only those individuals as farmers who are completely dependent on agriculture,” said Kulkarni.
Apart from writing the letter, the BKS had sent 12,000 letters by farmers across the country to the PM and agriculture minister demanding changes in the bills before they were passed by Parliament. It had also met about 350 Parliament members and requested them to raise the issue in the monsoon session.