File photo: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. (HT Photo)
File photo: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. (HT Photo)

Gehlot, Pilot hit out at farm laws ahead of Rajasthan bypolls

  • Both leaders shared a helicopter for the first time after more than a year.
By Jaykishan Sharma
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 09:09 PM IST

Putting up a united show ahead of the bypolls in Rajasthan, chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot hit out at the Centre’s three farm laws while addressing two kisan mahapanchayats at Shri Dungargarh in Bikaner and Matrikundiya in Chittorgarh on Saturday.

The two Congress leaders shared a helicopter for the first time after more than a year as they flew to address the two kisan mahapanchayats.

“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 condition for the last 90 days,” Gehlot said at Shri Dungargarh.

“Journalists, activists are being arrested. A 21-year-old girl was arrested in Bangalore. We have seen many governments but this is happening for the first time. Governments are not meant to be stubborn.”

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Taking a jibe at former CM Vasundhara Raje, Gehlot said, “More than 80 people were killed in firings during protests, including the Gurjar agitation. But in our tenure, not a single baton charge took place during protests. Our ministers went to the platform to talk to them and resolve their issues.”

He said his government bought a bill to counter the three farms laws but they are awaiting the Governor’s nod. “One can understand under how much pressure he must be. The government can easily resolve the farmers’ issue by taking back the laws. The Centre should bring in new laws,” Gehlot said.

“We are with the farmers. In the recent state budget, we announced a separate budget for farmers from next year. We announced to give 1,000 per month to farmers. We waived farmers’ loan of 8,000 crore.”

Gehlot appealed to people to vote for the development works done by his party. “Your blessings should continuously shower on us. Four bypolls are coming soon. Nobody thought that four MLAs will leave us like that. If you help us win the bypolls, then our government will be more strengthened.”

The bypolls are scheduled in Sujangarh, Rajsamand, Sahada and Vallabhgarh as four MLAs passed away between October 2020 and January 2021. In at least two of these seats, the Gujjars have a significant presence, making it difficult for the Congress to sideline Pilot.

During Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Rajasthan on February 12 and 13, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Govind Singh Dotasra was given preference over Pilot in the rallies.

In Matrakundiya, Pilot said that the Congress is working to create awareness. “Our leader Rahul Gandhi in his meetings said that the farmers are the backbone of our country and they are being attacked through this farm laws. The Centre wants to impose laws on the farmers. Through these laws, the Centre has ended laws on the stock limit and want to give profit to a few people,” he said.

“The 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. Through these laws, farmers will become labour on their own land.”

The former deputy CM praised the state budget and urged the people to vote for the Congress in the bypolls. Pilot also hit out at the Modi government over increasing fuel prices.

“The laws made by the Centre are not only against the farmers but also the common man. The price of petrol is 100 per litre, cylinder price is 800 and unemployment is at its peak. We need to remain aware,” he said.

State Congress in-charge Ajay Maken said the three farm laws will benefit a few corporates. “Before passing any bill, suggestions are taken from those concerned but these laws were brought without consulting anybody. These laws will end the MSP and mandi system,” he said.

Maken added that the Congress will continue to fight for the people against the farm laws, rising fuel prices and other issues of public interest.

State Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra said that the Modi government didn’t fulfil any of his promises related to farmers. “Before coming to power, the PM had promised that he will double the income of farmers, their profit share will be increased up to 50 per cent, educated unemployed youth will be provided jobs and the foreign policy will improve. But everybody knows what’s has happened so far and what is happening,” he said.

On the allegations levelled by the Congress leaders, state BJP president Satish Poonia said, “In the name of farmers, Congress is trying to find its lost ground among people. In times of Congress government also, incidents of firing had taken place.”

He added, “Generally it is a perception that the party in power wins the bypolls but Congress government is afraid that after performing poorly in the panchayat elections they will lose in the bypolls too.”

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