The Puducherry Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution demanding repeal of the central farm laws after it witnessed high drama with Chief Minister V Narayanasamy tearing copies of the contentious acts against which farmers are protesting near Delhi.
A special one-day session of the union territory assembly also passed another resolution reiterating its demand for full statehood, the tenth time it resorted to the measure since 1987.
All three members of DMK, the ruling Congress’ ally, were conspicuous by their absence while the entire opposition — All India NR Congress, AIADMK and BJP boycotted the proceedings as the two resolutions were adopted by a voice vote.
Talking to reporters outside the assembly, opposition leaders claimed the strength of the Congress in the 30-member House has come down to 14 after one of its legislators N Dhanavelou was disqualified for alleged anti-party activities.
They also said the relations between Congress and DMK had strained and hence the government should prove its majority.
Puducherry is the latest to adopt an assembly resolution against the farm laws. Earlier, non-BJP ruled states including Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi have passed resolutions rejecting the laws.
The opposition parties have maintained that the laws would affect the farmers and lead to dismantling of the minimum support system, a claim rejected by the Centre.
After criticising the farm laws in his reply to the debate on the resolution, Narayanasamy suddenly tore up copies of the acts, passed by Parliament and given assent by the President, disregarding an appeal by Speaker V P Sivakolundhu against the step.
Accusing the Narendra Modi government of bringing the legislations to “strike at the welfare of farmers”, he said the laws should be rescinded unconditionally.
The resolution against farm laws, moved by Agriculture Minister R Kamalakannan, alleged that these would benefit only the corporates and would drive out farmers from agriculture.
“Hence, we demand that the three laws be repealed. Any law of the government should be implemented only in consultation with the farmers.
Also, minimum support price should be fixed for all crops and it should be ensured that the farmers get the price,” it said.
The resolution demanding full statehood, moved by Narayanasamy, said in a democracy the elected representatives who were answerable to the people should have the full authority to govern.
In a democracy, an elected government alone should have the powers to formulate and implement schemes for the welfare of the people, he said.
In a veiled attack on Lt Governor Kiran Bedi whom the Congress government has been accusing of impeding its welfare schemes, the resolution said it was dangerous for democracy and the federal set up when those appointed by the Centre seek to directly govern overlooking the elected representatives.
It also said Puducherry was once getting 80 per cent of its annual budget by way of grant from the Centre, but it has gradually come down to 20 per cent now, following which the UT was facing acute financial problems.
“Only if full statehood was granted, welfare and development schemes can be implemented effectively,” he said.
It noted that similar resolutions had been adopted by the assembly on nine occasions since 1987. The previous resolution was passed on July 19, 2018.
Only the Congress members and lone independent member from Mahe N.Ramachandran were present in the House on Monday when the resolutions were tabled and passed.
Assembly elections are likely in the UT in April-May.