Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot attack Centre for 'stubborn stand' on farm laws
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot tried to present a united face ahead of the assembly bypolls in four seats in the state.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot on Saturday shared a helicopter ride for the first time in more than a year as they flew to address two Kisan Mahapanchayat at Shri Dungargarh in Bikaner and Matrikundiya in Chittorgarh where they attacked the Centre for its stand on the contentious farm laws.
The two leaders tried to present a united face ahead of the assembly bypolls in four seats in the state. In at least two of these seats, the Gujjars have a significant presence, making it difficult for the Congress to sideline Pilot anymore.
During Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s two-day visit to Rajasthan on February 12 and 13, PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra was given preference at the cost of Pilot in a series of political rallies held then.
“The Central government is stubborn and is not ready to listen to the farmers who are sitting on protest in extreme weather conditions for the last 90-days,” said Gehlot in Shri Dungargarh.
“Journalist, activists are being arrested. A 21-years-old girl was arrested from Bengaluru. We have seen many governments, but this is happening for the first time. Governments are not meant to be stubborn,” he said.
The chief minister said his government has brought a bill to counter the three farms laws passed by the Centre, but they are still awaiting the governor’s consent.
“One can understand how much pressure he must be under. The Centre can easily resolve the farmers issue by taking back the new laws. How can this government sleep? The Centre should bring new laws. We are with the farmers and in the recently announced state budget we announced that separate budget for farmers form next year. We announced payments of ₹1000 per month to farmers. We waived farmers’ loan of ₹8,000 crores. Our priority is always the wish of farmers,” Gehlot said.
Gehlot also appealed to the people to vote for the development works done by the Congress party. “Your blessings should continuously shower on us. Four bypolls are coming soon. Nobody thought that four MLAs would leave us like that. I can understand what their families and you people must be going through. Late Master Bhanwarlal Meghwal always worked in the interest of the people of Bikaner. If you vote for our victory, then our government will become stronger.”
The bypolls are scheduled in Sujangarh, Rajsamand, Sahada and Vallabhgarh where the MLAs died between October 2020 and January 2021.
In Matrikundiya, former deputy CM Sachin Pilot said that Congress party was working to create awareness about the farm laws.
“Our leader Rahul Gandhi in his meeting with farmers said that the farmers are the spine of our country and they are being attacked through these farm laws. The Centre wants to forcefully impose laws on the farmers. Through these laws the Centre has ended laws on stock limit and wants to give profit to few people,” he said.
Pilot added, “The Prime Minister is not ready to listen to the farmers. Our leader Sonia Gandhi had united 24 political parties against the farm laws. They want to shut all the mandis. Through these laws, farmers will become labourers on their own land.”
He praised the state budget and asked the people to vote for Congress in the bypolls.
“The state budget was very good. The Opposition is left with nothing to say against us. We fought against the state government when we only had 21 MLAs. The Congress is united and together. It is unfortunate that we lost four of our MLAs. Very soon bypolls will be also held. It is our (party workers’) duty to ensure the victory of our candidates in the bypolls,” he said.
Pilot also hit out at the BJP government at the Centre over rising fuel prices. “The laws made by the Centre are not only against farmers but also against the common man. The price of petrol is ₹100, cylinder is ₹800 and unemployment is at peak. We need to remain aware," he said.
Ajay Maken, Congress leader in-charge of Rajasthan said that the three farm laws are beneficial for few corporations “Before passing any bill, suggestions are taken from the concerned, but these laws were brought without consulting anybody. These laws will end the MSP and mandi system,” he said.
Maken added that Congress will continue to fight for the people against the farm laws, rising fuel prices and other issues of public interest.
The opposition BJP claimed that the Congress was simply trying to regain losty ground.
Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Rajasthan unitr chief Satish Poonia said, “In the name of farmers, Congress is trying to find its lost ground among the people.”
He added that generally it is the perception that the party in power wins the bypolls but the Congress government is afraid that after performing poorly in the panchayat elections it will lose in the assembly bypolls too.