Farmers protesting against the Centre's new farm sector laws clanged thalis and raised slogans as Prime Minister's monthly radio address Mann ki Baat was broadcast this morning. The protest took place at three spots -- Singhu border, Faridkot in Punjab and Rohtak in BJP-ruled Haryana.
The "thali bajaao (clang plates)" protest during PM Modi's address was announced last Sunday. Making the announcement, Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav had said, "On December 27 when the Prime Minister gives his Mann Ki Baat radio address, farmers will say 'we are tired of listening to your Mann ki Baat, when will you listen to our Mann ki Baat?' So we will bang utensils so that the noise of his Mann ki Baat doesn't reach us," he explained.
The idea of clanging plates and clapping was floated by the Prime Minister earlier this year to felicitate the frontline workers battling coronavirus as the lockdown started. In today's Mann ki Baat, PM Modi referred to it also.
Citing letters written to him by the people as the year moves to a close, PM Modi said: "In most of the letters people have commended the country's capabilities and the collective strength of the countrymen. When a novel experiment such as Janta curfew became an inspiration for the whole world, when the country felicitated our corona warrior unitedly with Thali-taali, the applause and the reverberating chime of plates... people have sent in reminiscences of that too."
The "Delhi-Chalo" protest by farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, has been continuing for more than a month. Thousands of farmers have been camping at the borders of Delhi, demanding that the farm laws, passed in September, be scrapped.
After five rounds of talks between the farmers and the centre failed, the Supreme Court ordered that a committee be formed to address the issue. "We do not think that the farmers will accept your conclusions. Let the committee decide," the top court had told the centre.
In his last Mann ki Baat on November 29, three days after the farmers started their Delhi Chalo protest, PM Modi had spoken of the farm laws and the advantages they bring.
"After a lot of deliberation, the Parliament of India gave a legal form to the agricultural reforms. These reforms have not only served to unshackle our farmers but also given them new rights and opportunities," he said,
"The demands made by farmers for years, which every political party at some point or the other made the promise to fulfill -- those demands have been met," PM Modi said.
His remarks drew condemnation from the Congress, which questioned how it would be possible to repeal the farm laws when he is backing them.