September 29, 2020 5:02:19 am
Amid continuing protests from farmer outfits against the Centre’s controversial farm Bills, the Congress on Monday revived its “suit-boot ki sarkar (government of the rich and elite)” jibe to target the Narendra Modi government. Accusing the Centre of pushing through “anti-farmer” legislations in an undemocratic fashion, former state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan labelled it as a plot to enslave the nation’s farmers.
“The Bills were hurriedly passed in the face of protests from Opposition, farmer groups and even constituents of the NDA to help the PM’s corporate friends. This is suit-boot ki sarkar,” said Chavan, reviving the jibe first used by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the first term of the Modi government.
Chavan alleged that the voice of 62 crore farmers, over 250 farmer outfits and political parties opposing the legislations had been conveniently and undemocratically overlooked. He was interacting with the media after a party delegation met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for handing over a memorandum to the President, demanding that the Bills be recalled.
As part of its two-month-long campaign to mobilise support against the Bills, senior Congress leaders across India walked to Raj Bhavans to submit similar memorandums.
In Maharashtra, while state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat was to originally spearhead the delegation, he opted out following the news that AICC Maharashtra in charge, H K Patil, who was in Mumbai on September 25, had tested positive for Covid-19.
Patil, Thorat and PWD Minister Ashok Chavan had jointly addressed a press meet the same day. Both Chavan and Thorat were also present for meetings Patil held with senior Congressmen later in the day. Chavan also opted out of the delegation citing the same grounds.
Besides Prithviraj Chavan, former Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, senior state Congress ministers K C Padvi and Yashomati Thakur and party MP Suresh Dhanorkar among others were a part of the party’s delegation that visited Raj Bhavan.
Sensing the opposition to the farm Bills as an opportunity to regain some of its lost political space, the Congress has launched a two-month-long “mass movement”. This comes at a time when BJP, facing resistance from a section of the farming community, is currently on a media blitzkrieg extolling virtue of its Bills.
The Congress campaign in Maharashtra had kicked off on September 26 with online protests. On October 2, on the occasion of the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, the party will observe the Kisan Mazdoor Bachao Diwas, where demonstrations and protest meets will be held across the state.
Between October 2 and October 31, the party will collect signatures from farmers, APMC traders and the labourers. On November 14, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, it will submit a detailed memorandum, along with the signatures of farmers, to the President.
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