Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot share stage, take on Centre over farm laws
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot on Saturday put up a show of unity ahead of bypolls to four seats in the state as they attacked the Centre over the three contentious farm laws and extended support to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
The two senior Congress leaders were involved in a political tussle last July over the functioning of the state unit, which threatened to topple the Gehlot government. The Congress brass eventually stepped in to resolve the month-long crisis.
Bypolls to Sujangarh, Rajsamand, Sahada and Vallabhgarh are scheduled due to the deaths of sitting legislators.
“Protest and agitation are ornaments of democracy, but the Central government is stubborn and not ready to listen to the farmers who are sitting on protest in extreme weather conditions for the last 90 days,” 69-year-old Gehlot said while addressing a kisan mahapanchayat in Bikaner.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and UP, have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November demanding a repeal of the three laws.
Pilot, who travelled with Gehlot to two kisan mahanpanchayats, said the Centre was ignoring the legitimate demands of the farmers. “PM is not ready to listen to the farmers. Our leader Sonia Gandhi had united 24 parties against the farm laws. They want to shut all the mandis,” the 43-year-old said.
State BJP president Satish Poonia rejected the Congress leaders’ allegations. “In the name of farmers, the Congress is trying to gain its lost ground. Generally, it is perceived that the party in power wins the bypolls, but the Congress government is afraid,” he said.