Modi weakening govt procurement system to benefit businessmen friends, Rahul Gandhi tells Punjab farmers
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of weakening the procurement system for foodgrains and snatching the economic freedom of farmers with the new farm laws.
Gandhi was addressing farmers on the second day of the party’s Kheti Bachao Yatra at Bhawanigarh, 13km from Sangrur, which has highest per hectare production of wheat in India and also remains the epicentre of protests of farmers.
Targeting the Modi government, Gandhi said the Centre makes policies to benefit few businessmen who are Modi’s friends. “Modi is paving the way for (industrialists) Ambani and Adani in the farm sector by enacting the new agriculture laws,” he said.
He said that the illogical policies of the government had already created unemployment in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). He reiterated how demonetisation, the goods and services tax (GST) and unplanned Covid-19 lockdown had hit the common man, while the ventures of top businessmen grew.
“The new laws will steal the economic freedom of farmers as a few businessmen will control the sale and purchase of foodgrains. The Congress is for strengthening the government procurement of foodgrains. But the government is bent upon destroying the nation’s food security. Otherwise, what was the hurry to bring in these laws?” he said.
The Congress leader said that the government anticipated farmers won’t come out on the streets due to the Covid-19 restrictions. “The Congress will join the fight of the farmers till the illogical, black laws are scrapped,” he said.
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder termed the new laws unjust for farmers. He said that the non-commitment on the continuation of the minimum support price (MSP) regime will create problems for farmers.
He said that acting on the Shanta Kumar committee’s report, Modi is trying to scrap the Food Corporation of India, which purchases foodgrains from Punjab for public distribution across the country. “Instead of watching the interest of farmers, the government is promoting business interests,” Capt Amarinder Singh said.
He said that the Akalis had failed to protect the interest of farmers while being a partner of Modi’s National Democratic Alliance. He asked farmers not to believe the PM’s assurance on MSP, as the NDA government is yet to fulfil its constitutional commitment to pay monthly GST to states.
He said that the Congress will fight for farmers on the legal and political fronts. It will approach the Supreme Court besides calling a special session of the Punjab assembly on this issue.
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar termed the agrarian laws as “death warrants” for farmers. He said that the Modi government is helping big businessmen but ignoring farmers, who are the backbone of the economy.
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who attended Sunday’s rally, skipped the event.
Haryana Congress leader Deepender Hooda was present.