The Congress and the BJP are "on the same page" as far as the farm bills are concerned, suspended Congress leader Sanjay Jha tweeted Friday afternoon, pointing out that the Narendra Modi government was simply doing what the Congress had promised to do ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
In an earlier tweet Mr Jha, whom the Congress suspended in July, said the amendments to the Essential Commodities Act (one of three farm bills passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday amid opposition walk-outs) were "consistent with UPA's own intent... will benefit what Congress's FDI in multi-brand envisaged".
"Folks, in our Congress manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha elections we had ourselves proposed abolition of APMC Act and making agricultural produce free from restrictions. This is what Modi government has done in the farmers' bills. BJP and Congress are on the same page here," Mr Jha's tweet read
"Bipartisan politics, please!" another said.
BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya was among those to respond to Mr Jha's tweet and, unsurprisingly, praised the former Congress spokesperson as the only person to have actually read the party's manifesto.
"The only person, who seems to have read the Congress manifesto, remembers it and is appalled at the duplicity of its leadership, who are conveniently abroad, while the Parliament is on and important steps to empower farmers are being taken..." Amit Malviya tweeted.
The only person, who seems to have read the Congress manifesto, remembers it and is appalled at the duplicity of its leadership, who are conveniently abroad, while the Parliament is on and important steps to empower farmers are being taken.... https://t.co/OtqVDoGrjy— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 18, 2020
Amit Malviya also tweeted the link to a newspaper article from February 2012 (when the Congress-led UPA was in power) in which then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged states to amend the APMC.
"Congress can ignore their manifesto but how about Dr Manmohan Singh?" Amit Malviya said.
Point 11 of the section of the Congress manifesto that deals with Agriculture, Farmers and Farm Labour says: "Congress will repeal the Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act and make trade in agricultural produce - including exports and inter-state trade - free from all restrictions".
One of the bills passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday does just that - the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill gives farmers the choice to sell their produce at competitive prices anywhere in the country.
However, the farmers are protesting - led by massive agitations in Punjab-ruled Congress - because they fear they will no longer get a Minimum Support Price. Opposition parties have denounced the bills are "anti-farmer" and claim the agriculture sector will be left to the fate of corporate interests.
On Friday, while addressing a virtual launch of a railway bridge in Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the "misinformation being spread" that farmers would be short-changed by the bills.