This Article is From Nov 20, 2021

"Only Ink Is Black": Minister Ditches PM's 'No Blaming Farmers' Tack

Minister VK Singh's take was a departure from PM Modi's conciliatory tone and also the talking points handed out to BJP leaders

VK Singh was speaking in UP's Basti.


A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologised to the nation and announced a rollback of the three contentious farm laws underlining that he was not interested in blaming anyone, his colleague Junior Aviation Minister VK Singh on Saturday appeared to stray from the official line, hitting out at farmers' unions.

"Sometimes we understand things well but then we blindly follow the other person. I asked a farmer leader what is 'kaala' or black about these laws that you call 'kaala kanoon'. I said except the ink what else is black in these laws? He said, 'I agree but it's still black'. What is the cure for this? There is no cure. There is a fight for supremacy among farmer organisations. For some reason they are not thinking about the benefit of the small farmer. That is why the PM has taken the laws back," the MP from Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad said.

The take was a departure from PM Modi's conciliatory tone and also the talking points handed out to BJP leaders which stress on painting the about-face as one in national interest given alleged attempts by secessionist forces to capitalise on the discord.

Announcing the rollback in a surprise announcement on Friday - the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, a holy day for thousands of Sikh farmers protesting the law, PM Modi had said it was not the time to blame anyone.

"While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (dedication) that we could not explain the truth, as clear as the light of the diya, to some of our farmer brothers. But today is Prakash Parv, not the time to blame anyone. Today, I want to tell the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws," PM Modi said in an address to the nation.

The decision was a significant climb-down and preceded state elections in politically important states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

The legislation - three laws introduced in September last year - was aimed at deregulating the sector, allowing farmers to sell produce to buyers beyond government-regulated wholesale markets where growers are assured of a minimum price.

Farmers, fearing the reform would cut the prices they get for their crops, staged nationwide protests that drew in activists and celebrities from India and beyond, including climate activist Greta Thunberg and pop singer Rihanna.