Farmers' Protest

Two Union Ministers from Karnataka call protesting farmers at Delhi borders ‘brokers and agents’

Published : August 19, 2021 15:26 IST

Shoba Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, addressing press persons in Mysuru on August 17. Photo: M.A. Sriram

Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, has called the farmers protesting for the repeal of the three agricultural laws at the borders of Delhi “brokers and agents” (dallali and madhyavarthi in Kannada).

Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, has called the farmers protesting for the repeal of the three agricultural laws at the borders of Delhi “brokers and agents” (dallali and madhyavarthi in Kannada). The Kannada newspaper Vijaya Karnataka (VK) reported that Karandlaje made this statement on August 17 while she was in Mysuru as part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Janashirvada Yatra. According to VK, Karandlaje said: “Prime Minister Modi brought these laws to double farmers’ incomes but brokers and agents have taken over the protest unable to tolerate the Prime Minister’s initiative.”

The newspaper also reported that Bhagwant Khuba, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, New and Renewable Energy, accused “brokers and agents” of protesting against the farm laws. Khuba made these statements in Yadgir on August 18 while participating in the Janashirvada Yatra. “When Rs.1.5 lakh crore have been distributed to 10 crore farmers with each farmer receiving Rs.2000 under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojana, how can we [the BJP government] be anti-farmer?” Khuba asked in the public rally.

The police registered two first information reports (FIRs) after the rally in Yadgir: The first FIR was registered against four BJP supporters who fired in the air to welcome Khuba. The second FIR was registered against the BJP leaders who had organised the event as the public gathering violated protocols that are in place to control the spread of COVID.

In a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah, Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly and former Chief Minister, said that Shoba Karandlaje “has humiliated our Annadata by calling them ‘brokers & middlemen’. Constitution has given the right to carry out peaceful protests & farmers are voicing against anti-farmer laws. She should withdraw her statement and apologise.”

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