Following the block-level conventions, the state Congress units have been told to organise district level padayatras (walks) before February 20.(PTI)
Following the block-level conventions, the state Congress units have been told to organise district level padayatras (walks) before February 20.(PTI)

Congress plans campaign against Centre across states over farm laws

In a letter to all state Congress chiefs dated Saturday, general secretary in charge of organisation KC Venugopal called for block-level conventions on the farm laws to be organised before February 10.
By Saubhadra Chatterji, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 01, 2021 06:11 AM IST

In an attempt to sustain the momentum of protests against the three farm laws passed by the Centre in September, the Congress has set a timeline for its state units to launch campaigns against the legislation and report back to the central leadership.

In a letter to all state Congress chiefs dated Saturday, general secretary in charge of organisation KC Venugopal called for block-level conventions on the farm laws to be organised before February 10.

“At these conventions, the block committees may honour farmers and farm labourers and pay homage to the farmers who lost their lives during the farmers’ protests,” said the letter, a copy of which has been seen by Hindustan Times.

Following the block-level conventions, the state Congress units have been told to organise district level padayatras (walks) before February 20.

“A 10 to 20 kilometers-long padayatra with massive participation has to be held in every district in solidarity with the farmers’ protests and demanding a JPC {joint parliamentary inquiry} into the breach of national security. The PCCs {Pradesh Congress Committees} are requested to give instructions to the DCCs {District Congress Committees} to hold a massive padayatra in every district involving every Congress worker, leader and office bearer in the district.”

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The proposed programmes across the states are the first organised, pan-India campaign by the Congress at the grassroots level and coincides with the ongoing farmers’ agitation at the border points of Delhi. A part of the Congress programme will also overlap with the budget session of Parliament where at least 18 Opposition parties are demanding withdrawal of the three farm laws.

The laws allow businesses to freely trade farm produce outside the so-called government-controlled mandi system, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales, and lay down new rules for contract farming.

Farmers fear the reforms would make them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations and pave the way for the government to stop buying staples at minimum support prices (MSPs).

The letter, dated January 30, also asked for state-level‘Kisan Sammelans to be organised before February-end. “It has to be ensured that each and every worker/leaders across the state and all elected representatives including MP’s/MLA’s/ Congress candidates/ Party Office Bearers participate and ensure to make it a mass convention,” Venugopal said.

Last week, the Congress Working Committee approved state-wise agitations against the farm laws, which the Congress says will only benefit a handful of industrialists.

The government has refuted the Opposition claims and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday the Centre’s offer to protesting farmers of keeping three agri laws in abeyance for 18 months “still stands.”

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