Congress leader P. Chidambaram addressing a press conference in New Delhi on the JNU violence
File image of Congress leader P. Chidambaram addressing a press conference in New Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

New Delhi: The contentious farm laws and the ongoing protests at Delhi’s various border points continued to dominate primetime debates Thursday. 

NDTV 24×7, however, shifted focus to the serial defections in poll-bound West Bengal.

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Suvendu Adhikari, a former cabinet minister quit the Trinamool Congress Thursday, putting an end to weeks of speculation on the issue. But it still remains unclear whether he will join the BJP or not.

Anchor Vishnu Som discussed these defections on his show ‘The Big Story’.

TMC’s Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra said, “Politics is a zero-sum game. Someone has to be removed for another person to come in. Why someone has left the TMC is not for me to wax eloquent about. But my question is — BJP is such a huge party, why does it need to resort to tricks like these?”

BJP’s Bhaskar Ghosh hit back, “We have not engineered any defection. They have come on their own and proven their mettle. People leave parties because of gross mismanagement. BJP, by default, is the other best option.”

Senior journalist Smita Gupta pitched in, “Ideology doesn’t have much of a place in West Bengal politics today. Mamata Banerjee made a mistake targeting the opposition and forcing some of them to defect to the TMC. In that she created a vacuum that the BJP is now filling.”

Justifying her move, a former Congress member herself, Moitra argued, “I left it because we couldn’t fight the Left on a Congress ticket, this is why Mamata also left. Those of us who are in TMC strongly believe that our chief minister is one of the last leaders to actively and staunchly oppose the BJP and its policies.”

On Mirror Now, anchor Tanvi Shukla spoke to former finance minister P. Chidambaram, exclusively, about the farmers’ protest and the contentious laws passed by the BJP government.

“The state governments of Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have passed laws subsequent to the central laws and are likely regulating the areas outside the mandi complex. The point is an unregulated market for agricultural produce. This is a fundamental economic issue, the government must address it,” Chidambaram argued when asked whether state governments should make changes to the law.

On the ongoing protest which has now entered Day 22, he added, “People don’t come to the streets on a whim. People come when they suffer injustice. Of course, there’ll be some inconvenience to people, but what about the threat to the livelihoods of farmers.”

Chidambaram also hit back at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who had attacked the Congress for their economic reforms in 1991. “Nirmala Sitharaman has no credentials to tell us what we should have done in 1991. What Narsimha Rao and Manmohan Singh did then will be written in gold.”

NewsX also discussed farm laws and the Supreme Court’s decision to appoint an expert committee to buffer negotiations between farmers and the government.

“Before any law is passed, it is the duty of the government to bring into confidence the affected parties or groups which the law is going to affect’,” Aman Panwar, Congress spokesperson, argued.

Dr G.V. Rao, senior advocate, Supreme Court, said, “We repose greater faith in experts of the area and we expect them to give their ideas on the subject as opposed to taking allegations made by political parties.”

NDTV India also focused on Supreme Court’s hearing Thursday. The apex court had said that protests must continue and the government should not take any action to implement the farm laws till the talks are still on.

“The arguments being presented in the court were in conflict with the farmer’s futures. They were not violent and yet they were accused of being so,” said anchor Ravish Kumar.

He added: “Is inflation only being caused by the protests? Petrol and diesel prices are also increasing, doesn’t that impact the public as well? Have cylinders prices increased because of the farmer’s protests? A lot of people lost their jobs during the lockdown, salaries were halved. Wasn’t that bad as well. Are farmer protests to be blamed for that?”

Aaj Tak displayed some “truths” and “lies” of the farmers’ demands as listed by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in a letter.

Remarking on the Supreme Court hearing, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap said, “The court has said that it is their right to protest, but have also stated that this shouldn’t inconvenience anyone.”

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