The Kerala legislative assembly is holding a one-day special session on Thursday to pass a resolution against new farm laws which have triggered widespread protests.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan moved a resolution which said that the country is going through a difficult situation and it was the duty of the state government to stand along with the agitating farmers. The resolution also said that the stir which was held under trying conditions and inclement weather failed to oppose eyes of the Union government.
“All three laws will only help big corporate houses,” the chief minister said.
“The current situation makes it clear that if this agitation continues, it will seriously affect Kerala. There is no doubt that Kerala will starve if the supply of food items from other states stops,” he added.
Congress and all other parties have supported the resolution. Congress deputy leader K C Joseph even criticised the Governor for delaying permission to convene the house.
O Rajagopal, the lone member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is also attending the session.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had on Monday given his assent for convening the state assembly for a one-day special session on December 31. The governor’s nod came after CPI-M led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government sent a fresh proposal to convene the assembly after he had turned down an earlier recommendation.
The duration of the session is expected to be of one hour.
The governor had earlier declined nod for the special session on December 23 to discuss the contentious laws, saying that the chief minister had not addressed the question raised by him on the nature of emergency warranting the very brief session.
In a letter to Vijayan, Khan had also stated that the government wanted the special session to “discuss a problem for which you have no jurisdiction to offer any solution”.
Vijayan had shot off a letter to Khan describing as regrettable his decision while asserting that the governor was bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers and that moving resolutions and conducting discussions in the assembly “cannot be regulated by gubernatorial powers”.
A large number of farmers mainly from Punjab and Haryana are demanding the repeal of the laws, contending that these would pave the way for a dismantling of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism and the mandi system, leaving them to the “mercy” of big corporates.
The government has been saying these fears are misplaced. A fresh round of talks – the sixth in a month – was held on Wednesday in which the Centre acceded to the demand to spare farmers heavy fines for crop-residue burning, as provided for in an anti-pollution ordinance, and to continue the current mechanism of giving subsidised power for agricultural use.
However, the two principal demands of a repeal of three new farm laws and a legal guarantee of minimum support prices are yet to be discussed.
The government did not take up these core demands on Wednesday, deferring them till the next round of talks on January 4, which the farmers have agreed to participate in.