Rahul Gandhi vows to scrap contentious farm laws once Congress returns to power at Centre
Former party president along with CM Amarinder kicks off three-day ‘kheti bachao yatra’ in Punjab; says corporate houses setting agenda for BJP-led NDA regime
Sharpening his attack on the BJP-led NDA government over the new agriculture laws, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said they will scrap these contentious legislations once the Congress returns to power at the Centre.
Launching the three-day ‘kheti bachao yatra’ along with Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and a battery of senior Congress leaders at Moga district’s Badhni Kalan village, the Gandhi scion vowed to fight till end against the legislations passed during Parliament’s monsoon session and extended his party’s “firm support” to the agrarian community.
“Some chosen corporate houses are dictating the Central government’s policy decisions. Land of farmers in the states like Punjab and Haryana is now facing the threat of acquisition by the powerful business houses,” he said while addressing the gathering in Moga.
Expressing solidarity with the farmers against the farm laws, the Congress’s state unit tried to put a united face. Sulking Amritsar (East) MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, a bete noire of the Amarinder, also attended the march after staying away from party events for several months. The cricketer-turned-politician was invited over cabinet ministers to address the gathering.
Rahul also released a `kisan-mazdoor ekta’ (farm labourer unity) flag.
VILLAGERS THRONG RALLY
VENUE AT MOGA VILLAGE
Earlier, the rally venue at the Badhni Kalan grain market was well attended by people, including women. Villagers also came to the rally in private buses from adjoining Bathinda, Barnala and Ferozepur districts. Covid-19 guidelines of maintaining social distancing and wearing masks were flouted by people.
Amarinder urged Gandhi to bring under one roof the farmers from across India for an organised protest against the Centre. “The Akalis sold off the farmers’ interests as part of the Central government, with Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal being party to the decision as a minister. The Centre might pay MSP for a couple of crops, but eventually it would scrap the system completely,” said the CM.
Later in the evening, the tractor march led by Gandhi and Amarinder received a rousing welcome by thousands of waiting farmers at Lamme Jattpura village in Raikot of Ludhiana district. Gandhi and Amarinder were handed over resolutions against the laws by the panchayats in Raikot sub-division.
Addressing the gathering, Gandhi said the Modi-led government has been attacking the poor. Earlier, travelling on tractors through Chakkar, Lakha and Manoke, Rahul and Amarinder met the farmers and assured them of full support in their fight against the new laws.
At Chakkar village, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Bittu handed over soil to Gandhi and urged him to save Punjab and its farmers from the new laws.
Gandhi said the government at the Centre is not run by Modi or BJP but by the Adanis and the Ambanis. “The Adanis and Ambanis help Modi and they get help in return. It is a symbiotic relationship between them,” he said.
JAKHAR DRIVES TRACTOR
CARRYING GANDHI, CAPT
State Congress president Sunil Jakhar drove the tractor carrying the Gandhi scion and Amarinder from Badhni Kalan to the Lamme Jattpur village in adjoining Ludhiana district.
Gandhi was honoured by villagers with shawls at a couple of places. Due to the movement of security vehicles, several tractors could not join the march.
Navjot Sidhu was aboard a tractor driven by Congress’ Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda.
A special engineering team was hired to modify the tractors used by the Congress leaders to make them comfortable and increase their seating capacity. The tractors also went through special security check.