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16 Opposition parties to boycott President's address to Parliament
New Delhi, January 28, 2021
Sixteen political parties have decided to boycott President Ram Nath Kovind's address to a joint session of Parliament on January 29 on the issue of farm laws.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said, "The only issue of the boycott is farm laws and 16 parties have decided to jointly boycott the Address".
"India's farmers have been collectively fighting against the three farm laws, arbitrarily imposed by the BJP government that threatens the future of the Indian Agriculture which sustains over 60 per cent of India's population and the livelihood of crores of farmers, sharecroppers and farm labour," it said.
"Lakhs of farmers have been agitating at the gates of the National Capital of Delhi braving biting cold and heavy rain for the last 64 days for their rights and justice. Over 155 farmers have lost their lives. The Government remains unmoved and has responded with water cannons, tear gas and lathi-charges," the statement said.
It added, "Every effort has been made to discredit a legitimate mass movement through a government sponsored disinformation campaign. The protest and the agitation has been largely peaceful.
"Unfortunately, there were a few acts of violence on January 26, 2021 in the National Capital of Delhi which were condemned universally and unequivocally.
"We also express our sadness over the injuries sustained by Delhi Police personnel while handling the difficult situation. But, we believe that an impartial investigation will reveal the Central Government's nefarious role in orchestrating those events. The three Farm Laws are an assault on the rights of the states and violate the federal spirit of the Constitution," said the statement.
"If not repealed, these laws will effectively dismantle the edifice of National Food Security that rests upon MSP, government procurement and Public Distribution System (PDS)."
"The farm bills were brought without any consultations with states and farmer unions and lacked national consensus. Parliamentary scrutiny was bypassed and the Laws were pushed through muzzling the Opposition, in brazen violation of Parliamentary rules, practices and conventions.
"The very constitutional validity of these laws remains in question. The Prime Minister and the BJP Government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response. Shocked by this insensitivity of the government, the following opposition political parties, reaffirming the collective demand for the repeal of the anti farmer laws and in solidarity with the Indian farmers, have decided to boycott the President's address to both the Houses of Parliament on Friday, January 29, 2021."
The opposition parties include the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), CPI(M), CPI, RSP, Kerala Congress-M, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), DMK, Jammu Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, MDMK and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).