Leaders of opposition parties stand united with farmers in ensuring their good future, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Friday said and called for a farm loan waiver, asserting that peasants are asking for what is due to them and not a “free gift”. The Congress supremo joined several leaders from the opposition parties, including AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, veteran politicians Sharad Yadav and Sitaram Yechury at Jantar Mantar here where thousands of farmers from across the country have gathered to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.
“The farmers of India are not asking for a free gift, they are only asking for their rights and what is due to them. The prime minister said he will provide remunerative prices to farmers, bonus and increased MSP, but the situation today is you pay for insurance and it goes into the pocket of Anil Ambani. Farmers cannot even decide which company’s insurance to buy,” he said. “The country has been divided between Ambani and Adani. But your farm loan waiver does not happen, you don’t get the right prices and hollow speeches are made,” he went on to add.
He trained his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that if Rs 30,000 crore can be given to Anil Ambani, an apparent reference to the Rafale fighter jet deal, why can’t loans of farmers be waived. “Farmers are not asking Anil Ambani’s aircraft from Modi ji, but India’s farmers are saying that if Anil Ambani can be given Air Force’s money of Rs 30,000 crore, if you can give 3.5 lakh crore to your 15 friends, then for our hard work, sweat and blood, why cannot our farm loans be waived,” he said.
Trying to project the event as a show of strength of the opposition parties, he said, “We may have different ideologies, but for the future of the farmers and the youth, we are all standing together on one stage. We want to tell Modi ji and the BJP that if we need to change the laws, change the chief ministers or even the prime minister, we do that for the sake of future of farmers. We will not budge even an inch, you may do whatever you want.”
He said the “voice being raised here will go across to every state – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telanagana, Rajasthan and in every state this voice will be raised. This is the voice of India’s farmers, youth and this cannot be silenced”.
Gandhi said there are two big issues before the country now, one of farmers’ future and the other employment of youth.