'Farm bills were forcibly passed in Parliament': Congress, 15 Opposition parties to boycott President Kovind's Budget Session address

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre remain 'arrogant, adamant and undemocratic' in their response, a joint statement by the parties noted

FP Staff January 28, 2021 15:08:05 IST
'Farm bills were forcibly passed in Parliament': Congress, 15 Opposition parties to boycott President Kovind's Budget Session address

File image of Parliament building. PTI

Owing to the "forcible passage" of the contentious farm Bills in Parliament, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that 16 Opposition parties will boycott President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to a joint sitting of the Parliament at the start of the Budget Session on Friday.

“We are issuing a statement from 16 political parties that we are boycotting President’s Address that will be delivered at Parliament tomorrow. The major reason behind this decision is that the Bills (Farm Laws) were passed forcibly in House, without Opposition,” said Azad.

The decision comes after the Republic Day farmers' rally in Delhi turned violent, leading to the death of one protestor and detention of 200 others. In the statement, the parties have said that agricultural Bills were passed without any consultation and their Constitutional validity remains in question, according to The Indian Express. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre remain "arrogant, adamant and undemocratic" in their response, the statement further noted.

Besides Congress, the NCP, Shiv Sena, TMC, DMK, JKNC, SP, RJD, CPI(M), CPI, IUML, RSP, PDP, MDMK, Kerala Congress and AIUDF will boycott Kovind’s address. The signatories including Deputy Leader Anand Sharma, Trinamool Congress' Derek O Brien, NCP's Supriya Sule and DMK's T Shiva.

The joint statement by Opposition leaders have also asserted that an impartial investigation will reveal the role of the central agencies in "orchestrating" the events of 26 January in Delhi, The Hindu reported.

The Congress on Wednesday had held Home Minister Amit Shah responsible for the violence on 26 January and said he should be sacked immediately. The Congress had also accused the Modi government of being part of a concerted conspiracy to malign the farmers' agitation by allowing some miscreants to enter the Red Fort complex and hoist a religious flag, in their bid to ensure that the farmers bury their demand for the repeal of the farm laws.

The Union Budget 2021 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1 February at 11 am, while the Economic Survey will be tabled on 29 January.

Continuing the attack on the Centre over the three farm laws, Congress’ Rahul Gandhi said most farmers don’t understand the details of the Bills. “If they did, there would be an agitation all across the country. The country would be on fire,” he said while addressing crowds in Kerala’s Kalpetta.

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