Rahul Gandhi seeks withdrawal of farm bills
Says Govt should guarantee MSP to farmers
New Delhi: Stepping up its attack on the Centre over the farm bills passed by Parliament, the Congress Saturday ran a social media campaign — Speak up for farmers — with Rahul Gandhi demanding the government withdraw the proposed legislations and give a guarantee on MSP.
The three bills were passed by both houses of Parliament during the Monsoon Session and are awaiting presidential assent.
In a video message as part of the Congress’ ‘Speak up for farmers’ campaign, Gandhi told farmers they were being persistently “attacked”.
“First demonetisation, then GST, then you were not given a single rupee at the time of coronavirus, attempt was being made to kill you (farmers), you are being made a slave of corporates, and now these three deadly Bills,” Gandhi said in his video message.
These bills are aimed at finishing off farmers and hurt them, he alleged.
“We are standing with you (farmers) and together we will stop these Bills,” Gandhi said.
“I want to say to the government — you have made a very big mistake. If farmers hit the streets, it will result in tremendous damage. Don’t waste time, withdraw these laws immediately and give guarantee on MSP (minimum support price) to farmers,” the former Congress chief said.
As part of the Congress’ ‘Speak up for farmers’ campaign on social media, several party leaders such as Priyanka Gandhi, K C Venugopal, P Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel, Salman Khurshid, Tariq Anwar, Sachin Pilot and Shashi Tharoor, posted videos expressing support for farmers and calling for the withdrawal of the bills.
The video messages of various Congress leaders were posted on the party’s official Twitter handle with a hashtag ‘SpeakUpForFarmers’.
Farmers from all over the country are unitedly raising their voices against the new agricultural bills, Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
“No provision of MSP in the bills, contract farming and mandi system being ended is like hitting the hard work of the farmers with an axe,” she said.
“Today, the whole of India is united against this injustice,” Priyanka Gandhi said.
“The hurry in passing these bills is only to favour the BJP’s crony capitalist friends… The Congress party is taking this agitation throughout the country to support our farmers,” said Venugopal, the Congress’ general secretary organisation.
Chidambaram, in his remarks, said, “The APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) Act today is a safety net for a large section of farmers. The MSP is a price signal & the market takes a signal from MSP. These two Bills will eliminate MSP as a price signal & in the course of time the APMCs will wither & vanish.”
Tharoor said the fact is that the farmers of the country are in a state of agitation and concern as the three bills have been “bulldozed” through Parliament by the BJP government.
In an earlier tweet, Gandhi said, “Let us raise our voices together against the atrocities and exploitation of farmers by the Modi government.”
“Join the Speak Up For Farmers campaign through your video,” he said, tagging a video in which the party called for the withdrawal of the bills.
The Congress, through its official Twitter handle, alleged the agriculture bills passed by the government in a “highly undemocratic manner are nothing but an attack on our farmers and an attempt to transform agriculture into another revenue stream for their crony capitalist friends”.
Along with many other opposition parties, the Congress has claimed that the bills — Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 — will harm the interest of farmers and benefit corporates, a claim denied by the government.
The Centre has asserted the bills will be beneficial for farmers and increase their income. (PTI)