February 14, 2021 1:13:03 am
Three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Parliament that the Centre’s three farm laws merely provide an “option” to farmers, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that those options are “hunger, unemployment and suicide”.
On February 10, PM Modi had said in Lok Sabha: “What deterioration has occurred in any facilities (the) farmers have been enjoying? This is just another option. They are not binding… Why are you opposing another option? These laws will not ban any existing mandis nor will they discontinue the MSP. We are just modernising the mandis.”
Addressing a ‘Kisan Tractor Rally’ from a flatbed tractor in Ajmer, Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi says ‘I am giving you options’. Yes… he has given three options: first is hunger, second is unemployment and the third option is suicide.”
On the final day of his two-day visit to Rajasthan, Gandhi reached the venue at Roopangarh in Ajmer driving a tractor, flanked by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra. At both Ajmer and Nagaur, Gandhi reiterated his claims regarding farm laws.
“Narendra Modi wants that this entire (agriculture) business goes into the hands of his two friends – that’s the aim of these laws. But India’s farmers are saying that they will die but not ever let this happen,” he said in Ajmer, accompanied by CM Gehlot, Dotasra, party’s state in-charge Ajay Maken and former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot on the flatbed.
“And it’s not just a farmer who is speaking. Behind him, there is a labourer, and with him there’s a small businessman. If these laws of Narendra Modi are implemented, it’s not just farmers who’ll suffer losses…I am saying it with guarantee, and I’m not just telling farmers, but small and medium businesses, labourers, and youths, hear me. When these laws are implemented, no Indian youth will get employment,” he said.
Gandhi asked the people to pay heed to his claims, saying that he had warned of the consequences of the pandemic too.
“In February last year, I had said that the nation will suffer immense losses. My friends in the media made fun of me, but then in their own homes, their family members became unwell. On demonetisation, I had said that this is theft from the poor – money was taken from your pocket and kept into the pockets of top two-three industrialists. For GST I had said that it is a way to kill small and middle sized businesses and steal from them, that it (the law) is to take their business from them and hand it to the top two-three industrialists of India.”
“And now I am saying that with these three laws, the biggest business is being snatched from 40 per cent of the people of India. And the country will suffer. Hence it is not just the responsibility of farmers, but of every labourer, every youth, small businessman, and of entire India. Brothers and sisters, this business of agriculture is not just of one industrialist, it is the business of Bharat Mata.”
At his second rally at Makrana in Nagaur, Gandhi said that it is “unlike other businesses”.
“Look at the automobiles (industry); it is run by Mahindra, by Tata – one, two persons control the entire business,” the Congress leader said, and pointed to airlines and banks to say that “four-five people who control them get the entire benefit. But agriculture business is such that no single person controls it. It is perhaps the only business which is controlled by 40 per cent people of India.”
On his request in Lok Sabha seeking two minutes of silence for “200 martyred farmers”, he said Saturday that “the Speaker told me to request it in writing, and so I would like to tell you that I will give it in writing, that both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha should observe two-minute silence for the martyred farmers.” At a rally on Friday, he had termed it “shameful that not a single BJP MP, not a single minister, stood for even half a minute”.
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