March 24, 2021 2:54:06 am
The Opposition Congress staged a walkout from Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday after its proposal to collectively observe a two-minute silence on Martyrs’ Day to pay homage to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and around 250 farmers, who lost their lives during the ongoing protests against three farm laws at the Delhi border, was rejected by the ruling BJP. The ruling BJP accused Congress of devaluing the martyrdom of the three heroes of the freedom movement by clubbing it with the recent deaths of the farmers in the national capital.
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani moved the proposal during the discussion on the budgetary demands of various departments, including agriculture, farmers’ welfare and cooperation.
“On this day, Veer Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev had sacrificed their lives for the country with a smile. It is my request that the entire House pays homage to the three jawans, who laid their lives (for the country). Similarly, farmers of the country are doing an agitation in Delhi for the past 125 days to stop three laws, which will bring privatisation of APMCs, relaxations to hoarders and attack farmers’ land through contract farming. More than 250 farmers have attained martyrdom in the ‘Kheti Bachao Andolan’ in those 125 days. I request that this entire House pay them homage by observing two minutes’ silence.”
The proposal was opposed by the BJP. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the BJP and its government completely agree to observe silence and pay homage to the three martyrs. “However, the way Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani has politically mixed the martyrdom of great martyrs with the recent incidents…,” Patel said.
Even as the Deputy CM objected to the comparison of the three martyrs with the ongoing farmers’ agitation, the Congress MLAs started to voice their opposition against Patel.
“I want to ask the people of the Congress party. Did they pay homage to the 19 farmers whom the then Congress government had killed in police firing in Gandhinagar on the horrific day of March 19, 1987?” the DyCM said while showing a newspaper clip on the incident and reading it out in the House.
Nineteen farmers, who were a part of a farmers’ agitation, were killed in police firing in 1987. The farmers had planned to gherao the state assembly over their demands when the police action took place.
“By doing political devaluation of the great martyrs, Congress is playing politics. It is not acceptable to us and we oppose that… Your government, your former chief minister, your former home minister had martyred 19 farmers in one day. They (Congress) should first give an answer to that,” Patel added.
Congress MLAs, meanwhile, shouted slogans against the BJP government and reached the Well of the House. After sloganeering for some time, all the Congress MLAs walked out of the House in protest.
Following the walkout, agriculture minister R C Faldu requested the House to observe a minute’s silence to pay homage to the three martyrs. Subsequently, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “Right now, divisive elements of the country have sneaked into the current agitation in Delhi in the name of farmers. And Congress is in their support, which shows that they want to divide the country. And such intent cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.”
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