Sonia urges states ruled by Congress to draft own farm laws1 min read . Updated: 29 Sep 2020, 07:17 AM IST
The Punjab govt is already consulting legal experts over challenging the central laws in the Supreme Court
A day after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the three controversial farm bills, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday advised party-ruled states to consider the possibility of drafting state laws to bypass the central Acts. Punjab is already considering the option of bringing state laws and would consult legal experts over challenging the central laws in the apex court.
Gandhi’s call is significant amid the political realignment of sorts with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s oldest allies, parting ways and aiming to form a coalition of like-minded parties to protest against the contentious farm laws passed by the Centre.
“Congress-ruled states will explore the possibilities to pass laws in their respective states under Article 254(2) of the Constitution which allows the state legislatures to pass a law to negate the anti-agriculture central laws encroaching upon state’s jurisdiction under the Constitution," said K.C. Venugopal, Congress’ general secretary in charge of organisation said on Monday.
“This will enable the states to bypass the unacceptable anti-farmer provisions in the draconian agricultural laws, including the abolition of minimum support price and disruption of APMCs (agricultural produce market committees) in Congress-ruled states," he added.
After knocking the doors of like-minded parties, senior SAD leaders are also urging farm organizations to close ranks over the issue and join the protests. At least four key regional parties, including two Congress allies, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena, besides the Trinamool Congress and the National Conference, extended their support to the Akalis.
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who had earlier said that the state government is exploring options to protect the interest of farmers, including amendments to state laws, protested against the central laws on Monday. “We will further liberalize the APMC Act and have more mandis to ensure farmers do not face problems," Singh said after the protests. The issue will be challenged in the Supreme Court and we will consult a team of lawyers on this, he said.