Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in New Delhi on January 19. (ANI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in New Delhi on January 19. (ANI)

Few people owning country, says Rahul; hails protesting farmers

Releasing a book on the farm issues that are plaguing the country, Gandhi alleged that the government wants to ignore the issue and misinform people about it
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 04:30 PM IST

Lashing out at the Narendra Modi government over the farm protests, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that a handful of people close to the Prime Minister now “own” the country through “massive monopolies” but added that “there are millions of people who do not accept this nonsense that’s going on in this country”. He announced support for farmers and claimed the Congress will provide “the vision for India” as it has the “expertise” to do so.

Gandhi also demanded that both journalist Arnab Goswami and the person who provided the information about the Balakot airstrike on Pakistan should be booked as such leaks were against national security. His reference was to transcripts of the journalist’s WhatsApp conversations that seem to suggest he knew the strikes were in the offing.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here on Tuesday, Gandhi said, “Across the board what we are watching is the development of massive monopoly in this country. Three or four or five people are now owning this country. This country is owned by a small group of people who are close to the PM,” he alleged, comparing the current situation with that of India under the British Raj.

He maintained that the farm laws would mean “3-4 people owning the entire agriculture system.”

Releasing a book on the farm issues that are plaguing the country, Gandhi alleged that the government wants to ignore the issue and misinform people about it. “The new laws are designed to destroy agriculture, destroy mandi system and ensure no farmer can go to court.”

Gandhi hailed the protesting farmers as “patriots protecting the livelihood of 60% of India’s population” and lent his full support for them.

The Congress leader also refused to accept that there’s a deadlock while the negotiations between farm organisations and the Centre have rolled over to ninth round. “There is no deadlock. The government believe they can tire out the farmers, but farmers know more about India than the PM. The only solution is to repeal the three farm laws.”

Gandhi also hit out at the government over the recent controversy around Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp messages. “Sharing official secrets with a journalist is a criminal act. There is nothing patriotic at putting our airforce at risk. I want to know who told Arnab Goswami about the airstrike? Only five people, PM, home minister, defence minister and the NSA must have known about it.”

Claiming that China has a clear strategic vision to reshape the world and it is watching the weaknesses of India, Gandhi said, “India doesn’t have a strategic vision. China tested us twice: in Doklam and now in Ladakh. If India doesn’t make a clear military, economic and geo-political strategy, then there is a danger.”

Union minister Prakash Javadekar hit out at the Congress, saying it does not want a solution to the farmers’ issue. “Today, the farmer is poor because of Congress’ destructive policies,” he said. “The Congress does not want the government and farmer talks to be successful. Therefore, the Congress has adopted obstructive policies.”

Javadekar asked why does not Gandhi answer questions on China. “Who gave away land to China? Under whose rule did Aksai Chin go out of India’s hands? Who took money from China for a private trust? Who gave away India’s UNSC permanent seat to China?”

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