ON DAY two of his Kheti Bachao Yatra, former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi said that Centre’s Narendra Modi government was out to finish “farmers and labourers” with the three farms laws just as it had “destroyed” small shopkeepers with demonetisation and GST.
He said that the need was to correct flaws in the current food procurement system, rather than crushing it.
“I am aware of the existing flaws of procurement, food security, mandi and MSP system…But these all are the walls to protect our farmers. They provide guarantee of food to crores in our country. We need to make corrections in this system by making more mandis, more storage houses in the form of silos, ensuring MSP on various crops other than wheat-paddy rather than crushing it altogether and making a way for Ambanis and Adanis,” said Rahul, who held two public rallies in Sangrur – one at Barnala Chowk in the city and another in Bhawanigarh in the same district. Both rallies were in the constituency of Cabinet Minister Vijayinder Singla .
Later in the afternoon, Rahul along with Singla, CM Amarinder Singh and PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar took the tractor march towards Samana in Patiala to be with the farmers in the CM’s home district.
During his rallies in Sangrur, Rahul compared the Modi government to the “East India Company rule”.
He said: ”Instead of protecting the small and marginal farmers who compose 70 per cent of the total farmers, PM Narendra Modi’s government is all set to crush farmers by imposing these ‘black laws’ which are in favour of only a few corporate houses.”
“In the past, East India company had directly targeted farmers, labourers and had snatched their food security from them due to which country became a slave. Even now they are all set to break the spine of farmers, labourers, small shopkeepers, commission agents, transporters so as to make the country slave…..My fight is not for farmers or mazdoor alone, but it is for every Hindustani. Our PM is attacking the ‘soul’ of every Indian, but we all will fight it out. We will not move back an inch in rejecting these ‘anti-farmer’ laws. This is the reason that I am with all of you as these laws are not only going to impact farmers but all of us. A food item which is now at Rs 10 will go up to Rs 50 and the benefit will go to the corporate houses.”
Rahul added, “Even if they wanted to bring these laws, they could have delayed them by 6 months or a year, so as to let people cope up with corona. But this was planned as the Modi government expected that farmers will stay indoors during a pandemic and they will be able to gag their voice. But they have forced people to come out and speak. Congress will never step back and each and every leader of our party will fight for you.”
PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar also addressed the rally and said: “First they made a hole in our pocket by doing demonetisation, later they cut our arm by implementing GST and now they are all set to twist the neck of farmers by implementing these black laws.”
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh added, “Above all, they have not even given us our GST share for the past 7 months which is a commitment from the centre government.”
He said, “As they are in a rush to implement these laws, I want to tell our farmers that all development in the state will stop as Rs 4,000 crores was the collection through mandis and when these mandis will become useless, this fee will no longer come and hence development of link roads will be impossible. If a farmer has any emergency, he always contacts his arhtiya, and not Ambani or Adani. Who will now help him overnight? The APMC Act is just 60 years old and what is the hurry to scrap this act.”
Interestingly, one farmer Mukhtiar Singh of village Kanjla also came up on stage to meet Rahul Gandhi where he said that he was under stress as he has only 4 acres of land and was worried as how he will survive these new changes.
Others who were present on the occasion were former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, and Sports Minister Rana Sodhi and few others. However, MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was not there.
Sidhu’s native village Mannawal is in Sangrur and last week he had specially come to his village to address the farmers on the agri laws.
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