Rejecting the suggestion that the Centre was able to take unilateral decisions because of a weak Opposition, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said “give me free press and other key institutions and this (Narendra Modi) government will not last long.”
The Modi government has forcibly taken control of all the key institutions, Rahul alleged, while addressing a press conference in Patiala on the third and final day of his Kheti Bachao Yatra in Punjab. The BJP government has captured the soul of the country, he claimed. (Follow Punjab, Haryana Farmers Protest LIVE updates here)
Terming the alleged control of institutions by the government a big problem, Rahul noted that no other country in the world today is facing a situation where even the media does not question the government when its land has been seized by another nation. Modi, he claimed, is not interested in India’s welfare but is only concerned about “protecting and promoting his image”.
“Why don’t you question him at press conferences,” he asked the media.
Rahul, however, said that while the government may have captured the institutions, they cannot control the farmers, the youth and the small traders, whose interests they are destroying. “I work among these people, who are the hardest hit by Modi’s policies. I am a patient person, and will wait till the people of India see the truth,” he added.
Rahul was flanked by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who informed the media that his government will soon bring a special session to scuttle the three farm laws passed by Parliament.
Rahul, on his part, said he was committed to fighting against the Modi government’s attack on farmers, just as they had earlier targeted SMEs and small traders with demonetisation and GST. “I will fight them and stop them,” he said.
He also shrugged off criticism from the BJP over him leading protests in Punjab and Haryana, saying they attacked him in February, too, when he had first warned about the coronavirus. “But the truth is there for all to see now,” he said. Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s earlier statement that India will win the war against Covid in 22 days, the Congress MP said: “You can see for yourself who talks more sense – Modi or me.”
Asked to comment on the BJP’s claims that the farm laws, just like demonetisation and GST, were major achievements of the Modi government, Rahul told the media to go and ask the small traders and businessmen, and the farmers, whether they considered these actions to be accomplishments or failures. “If the Farm Laws are an achievement, then why are the farmers not celebrating, why are they not bursting firecrackers with joy?” he asked.
“In any case, if Modi was so confident that these laws were beneficial to farmers, why didn’t he face a debate in Parliament, why did he push the laws during Covid times when the farmers cannot come out on the roads, why did he not hold a press conference or come and meet the farmers in Punjab,” he said.
Recalling a childhood memory of how a handful of Sikhs had protected the family when his grandmother Indira Gandhi lost the parliamentary election in 1977, Rahul Gandhi today said he felt he owed a debt to Punjab and Punjabis.
“There was nobody in the House except these Sikhs who protected my grandmother,” he recalled.
Rahul said he had come to Punjab because he felt a grave injustice was being done to the state by the Modi government, and he instinctively always stands with the weak and the suffering. “Perhaps that is why I get beaten up in politics,” he said.
UPA will scrap farm laws, will throw China out: Rahul at Haryana rally
Pehowa: After entering Haryana on Tuesday, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said his party will scrap the controversial farm laws “within 10 days” of being voted to power. He also launched a belligerent attack on PM Narendra Modi over his government’s handling of the stand-off with China.
After being briefly stopped at the Punjab-Haryana border, Rahul addressed two rallies at Pehowa and Thanesar in Kurukshetra, marking the end of his Punjab, Haryana tour. “When our government comes to power, we will throw away this legislation within 10 days. But, before our government comes to power, we will struggle…” he said. —ENS
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