Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole today told the hundreds of protesting farmers at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan that the three new contentious agricultural laws passed by Parliament last September will not be implemented in the state. The farmers, mostly from Nashik district, have gathered in the state capital for the past two days in solidarity with thousands of their comrades gearing up for a massive tractor rally in Delhi today against these new pieces of legislation.
Speaker Patole today addressed the gathering in Mumbai as part of the flag-hoisting ceremony to mark India’s 72nd Republic Day.
“The Maharashtra government will form a committee to look into these laws. The government will not implement the farm laws in the state,” Mr Patole said. “I am first a farmer, then the occupant of a constitutional post. So, I have come here to support the farmers.”
Yesterday, the farmers at Azad Maidan were addressed by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Congress President Balasaheb Thorat, who too conveyed a similar message to the protesters.
Mr Pawar even slammed Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for not making time for the farmers who had planned to hand him a memorandum. The Governor was reportedly away in Goa, a state that he has got additional charge of.
“He (Mr Koshyari) has time to meet Kangana Ranaut but not farmers. He should have been here to speak to you but he is not,” Mr Pawar had said yesterday.
The Maharashtra Speaker, too, criticised the Governor today for the same reasons.
“We all know on whose directions the Governor functions. Don’t want to say anything on why he didn’t meet the farmers,” Mr Patole said.