Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, D. Raja, Sitaram Yechuri and others address media after meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT photo)
Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, D. Raja, Sitaram Yechuri and others address media after meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT photo)

If farmers don’t stand up today, they will be silenced forever: Rahul Gandhi after meeting President over farm laws

Calling it an “anti-farmer” laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Centre for passing the laws without consulting with the opposition parties and the farmers.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Niyati Singh
UPDATED ON DEC 09, 2020 08:10 PM IST

A delegation of opposition parties including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) chief Sharad Pawar met President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday, demanding roll back of three farm laws passed by Parliament recently.

Calling it an “anti-farmer” laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Centre for passing the laws without consulting with the opposition parties and the farmers. Gandhi pointed out that the way the bills were passed is an “insult to farmers” who are out on the streets, protesting in cold weather.

“The manner in which these three bills were passed, without any discussion, without any conversation with the opposition parties and certainly without a discussion with the farmers of this country, who have built India, is an insult to the kisans (farmers) of this country,” Gandhi said. The Congress leader was addressing the media after his meeting with the President over the farm laws.

The delegation leaders said that they have urged the President to take back the laws. Gandhi said that the farmer no longer believes in the government’s intention. “The kisan (farmer) has lost faith in the government. The kisan does not believe that the government is acting in their interest and that is why lakhs of them are on the streets, non-violently and compassionately. They are struggling in cold weather with complete respect. So, we have informed the President that it is absolutely critical that these bills are taken back,” he added.

Also read | Farmer leaders reject govt proposal, call for nationwide protest on Dec 14, to block Delhi-Jaipur highway on Dec 12

The five-member delegation of opposition leaders that met the President on Wednesday also included CPI general secretary D Raja and DMK leader TKS Elangovan.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi alleged that the true agenda of the three farm laws is to “handover India’s agriculture system to PM’s friends”. “Our prime minister said that these bills are for the benefit of our farmer, if that’s true, then why are they (farmers) on the streets? Why is the farmer so angry? Because the true agenda of the three farm bills is to handover India’s agriculture system to prime minister’s friends, and the kisan is very well aware of this,” the former Congress chief said. “Nobody can stand in front of a farmer’s strength. The government should have no misunderstanding that the farmers will move, will get scared because India’s farmers will not move until these bills are taken back,” he added.

Earlier today, the farmer unions rejected the proposal sent by the Centre to end the protests over the agri laws and said that they will block the Delhi-Jaipur national highway by December 12 and hold demonstrations protesting the farm laws in several parts of the country on December 14.

Rahul Gandhi urged the farmers to not be afraid and assured complete support of opposition parties. “Government should have no misconception. Our farmers will not compromise because they know that if they compromise today, then they will have no future in the country. And I am telling this to our farmers, that if you do not stand up today, then you will be silenced forever, and we are standing with you. You are Hindustan,” the Congress leader said at the end of press conference.

Also read | As protests intensify, opposition leaders meet President Ram Nath Kovind, demand repeal of farm laws

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at various borders in and around Delhi against the new agriculture laws since November 26. The three farm laws which were passed in September have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will help remove the middlemen and give farmers the right to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have said that the new farm laws will take away the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the mandis, giving power to big corporates.

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