Updated: October 4, 2020 6:57:17 pm
From the heart of the protests against the three contentious farm laws in Punjab’s Moga, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack against the Narendra Modi government and asserted that the legislations would be revoked if Congress was voted to power.
Addressing a public meeting in Badhni Kalan in Punjab’s Moga district before leading a tractor rally, which has been named ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’, Gandhi wondered what was the “hurry” and need to implement these laws amid Covid-19 pandemic.
“I guarantee the day Congress government is formed (at the Centre), these three black laws would be scrapped and consigned to wastepaper basket. The prime minister says the laws are being framed for farmers. If the laws are being made for farmers, then why didn’t you debate in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?” Gandhi asked.
“And if farmers are happy with these laws, then why are they agitating across the country? Why is every farmer of Punjab agitating,” he said at the rally, which was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Congress state chief Sunil Jakhar and MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Punjab: Rahul Gandhi holds tractor rally at Badhni Kalan in Moga pic.twitter.com/6Ei2DuHojS
Rahul Gandhi further claimed that PM Modi had been lying to the people for the last six years. “This is a kathputli government whose strings are in the hands of the Adanis and Ambanis. These are the three black laws that have been passed. The Modi government wants to destroy the three pillars of Indian agriculture – MSP, food grain procurement and Mandis,” he said.
Addressing another rally in Ludhiana, Gandhi said, “People of Punjab provide food to the country, you are the backbone of our country. Why is Modi ji breaking this backbone to benefit few people? Congress will never let this happen.”
President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which were passed by the Parliament last month. Out of the three laws, farmers and farm leaders have expressed grave concerns over the first one that they claim was a roundabout way to eliminate procurement of wheat and paddy under minimum support price (MSP) programme.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said PM Modi’s promises were of no use as long as the laws passed in the Parliament were not amended to make the MSP compulsory.
Sidhu, who had stayed away from all Congress activities ever since he resigned as cabinet minister last year, dubbed the farm laws an “attack on federal structure” and alleged the central government was being run by “capitalists”.
“They are trying to impose America’s failed system on us. Capitalists are running this country. Benefits to farmers are labelled as ‘subsidies’ whereas relaxations worth lakhs of rupees given to the rich are called ‘incentives’,” he said.
Gandhi will hold massive public meetings and tractor rallies across Punjab and Haryana for three days. After finishing his tractor rallies in Punjab’s Patiala, Gandhi will attempt to enter Haryana through Pehowa on October 6. From Pehowa, he will reach Pipli in Kurukshetra, address a rally of farmers, shopkeepers and arhtiyas and then take the national highway to Delhi.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, who has so far maintained that Rahul Gandhi would not be allowed enter state, softened his stance on Sunday. “We are a democratic state,” he said.
Taking a dig at Gandhi, Haryana deputy CM Dushyant Chautala said, “Rahul does not have complete knowledge on the three farm legislations. Rahul Gandhi ko Krishi ke “k”shabd ka bhi gyan nahi hai”. Dushyant termed ongoing protests in Punjab and Haryana as “Congress’ conspiracy”.
“Congress is misleading innocent farmers. Haryana’s farmers are well aware about his interests and will not allow Congress to mislead. Both centre and state governments have taken numerous decisions in farmers’ interest and several steps are being taken to double farmers’ income. Congress, till date, has not taken any measures to ensure farmers’ welfare. However, prime minister Narendra Modi not only took revolutionary decisions in farmers’ interest but had also disbursed record compensation to farmers,” Dushyant said.
“I am also a farmer and my doors are always open for farmers. I am ready to reply each and every question raised by farmers,” Dushyant added.
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