The Congress on Tuesday said it is unfortunate and regrettable that President Ram Nath Kovind was not according a hearing to opposition parties who have sought time from him to raise their concerns over the two contentious farm bills.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the opposition parties have written to the President for hearing them before he gives assent to the bills.
“We are deeply disappointed as we hoped that the President would meet opposition parties, would scuttle the bills and listen to the representatives of 62 crore farmers,” he told reporters.
“However, the President is silent and he is not even willing to meet the opposition parties… It is unfortunate and regrettable that he is not giving us time,” Mr Surjewala said.
A day after the two contentious farm bills were passed by Rajya Sabha amid a bedlam, a number of non-NDA parties wrote to President Kovind over the manner in which the government “pushed through its agenda” and urged him not to grant his assent to the proposed legislations.
According to sources, leaders of various political parties including the Congress, the Left parties, the NCP, the DMK, the Samajwadi Party, the Trinamool Congress and the RJD have in a memorandum to the President sought his intervention in the matter and asked him not to sign the bills.
The bills will become a law only after the President grants his assent to them.
Sources said the opposition parties have described the manner in which the bills were passed as “murder of democracy” by the ruling BJP. They have also sought time from the President for a meeting, likely on Tuesday.
The Shiromani Akali Dal leadership met President Kovind separately on Monday and urged him not to sign on the bills.
The opposition leaders wanted to present their case in urging the President not to grant his assent to the bill after both the Houses of Parliament passed the two bills.
They are alleging that the bills are against the interest of farmers and seek to enslave farming at the hands of corporates. These will prove to be a “death knell” for farming, the opposition leaders claim.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to give freedom to farmers to sell their produce outside the notified APMC market yards (mandis). This, the government says, is aimed at facilitating remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels.