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farm laws: Shiv Sena MPs meet farmers at Delhi border to express solidarity

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Mumbai: A delegation of Shiv Sena MPs met farmers at the Delhi border on Tuesday to “express solidarity with their cause”, raising questions over the Sena’s stance on the farm bill issue as the party had been in favour of its implementation, at least in Maharashtra.

Led by Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, the MPs met Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait and “conveyed” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s message to the farmer leader.

According to Sena MP Arvind Sawant, who was part of the delegation, “As per the directives of Uddhavji, all the MPs met the farmers to express solidarity with them. Uddhavji’s message to the farmers is: ‘the Shiv Sena is with them, the entire government of Maharashtra is with them’,” said Sawant.

The Sena MP said the party will see how the situation develops and is not averse to raising the issue in Parliament. “We are shocked to see the condition of farmers here. They have been sitting in the cold but the government is not having a dialogue with them. Look at the manner in which they have put so many obstacles here. They should have done it along the border with China and Pakistan, not with our own people,” said Arvind Sawant.

The Sena’s move to be in solidarity with the farmers in Delhi is at variance with its stand in the state. In Maharashtra, it is not opposed to the farm laws being implemented. While the Congress and NCP don’t want the laws implemented in the state, the Sena-led government has resisted the cancellation of the three farm laws as has been done in the Congress-ruled and non-BJP ruled states. The Sena has said that all “stakeholders would be consulted on the provisions of the farm laws” and only then would a decision be taken.

The Sena in fact even stayed away from a recent farmers’ delegation that took out a march to Mumbai. The party had voted in favour of the farm bill in the Lok Sabha but walked out before the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Sawant however said there was no contradiction in the Sena’s stand. “There is no contradiction. We are firmly with the farmers. We are asking the government to have a dialogue with the farmers. What is currently happening with the farmers is not democracy,” Sawant told ET.

Maharashtra opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis told reporters on Tuesday that the Sena is confused. “They (Sena) do not have a stand. They earlier voted in favour of the bill in the Lok Sabha but took a different stand in the Rajya Sabha. They don’t have their own independent opinion or view,” he said.

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