Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has attacked the Narendra Modi government over its handling of the farmers’ protest over the 3 farm laws.(PTI Photo/File)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has attacked the Narendra Modi government over its handling of the farmers’ protest over the 3 farm laws.(PTI Photo/File)

Rahul Gandhi says farmers being martyred while ‘Modi’s friends’ benefit

Rahul Gandhi’s comments come in the backdrop of Central ministers holding the sixth round of talks with the protesting farm leaders on Wednesday.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
UPDATED ON JAN 03, 2021 03:10 PM IST

The Congress party on Sunday accused the Central government of being apathetic towards farmers and being empathetic to its “suit-boot friends”.

Former Congress party president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the country is witnessing a moment akin to the Champaran struggle, a farmers uprising led by Mahatma Gandhi against the Colonial rule in 1917.

“The country is facing a situation like Champaran once again,” Gandhi said. “Back then, collaborators supported the British company, now the friends of Modi are in-cahoots. But every agitating farmer-worker is a satyagrahi, who will secure his rights,” Rahul’s tweet said.

Gandhi’s comments come in the backdrop of Central ministers holding the sixth round of talks with the protesting farm leaders on Wednesday. They rejected the demand to repeal the three agricultural laws that the cultivators say will hurt their livelihoods. The Centre, however, proposed to set up a committee to examine the new farm laws.

Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Prakash also discussed the possibility of a law on guaranteeing minimum prices for farm prices, HT reported on Wednesday. The farmers, however, remain firm on their demand for the repeal of the laws.

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh, in a press briefing at the party headquarters in New Delhi, urged the government to take cognisance of the cold, urgently address the farmers’ demands and repeal the laws. He said that amid the impasse with the government, farmers were being martyred at the border.

“On one hand, there has been a complete lack of sensitivity towards the plight of the protesting farmers and their demands and on the other, close friends of this BJP government have been receiving complete empathy and blessings for expanding their dominance in all spheres of business,” Vallabh said.

“On one hand, the farmers in return for their protests have only been receiving false promises, (while) the friends have been receiving contracts after contracts to fill their pockets. This is a matter of serious concern as all this is happening as the farmers continue to protest. The government is fooling the nation,” he added.

Also Read: Rains, waterlogging cause inconvenience to farmers protesting at Delhi borders

Vallabh said that a 30-year-long contract has been allocated to the Adani Agro Logistics Limited to store food grain, where the government has provided a guarantee that their services will be used and revenue has been linked to inflation.

“The government is prepared to provide a revenue guarantee to AALL that too with price escalation based on an inflation-linked formula, but for farmers, there is no such guarantee for minimum support price,” Vallabh said.

He added that the government had also failed to procure the promised 60 lakh metric tonne of rice from the farmers in Chhattisgarh, citing the lack of storage space as a reason. “Are they waiting for AALL to set up storage spaces in Chhattisgarh; will they procure the rice only then,” he asked.

The Congress leader also stressed that the three farm bills need to be repealed since their “negative” impact had already begun to show in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

“Nearly 70% of the mandis have been shut down. Moreover, farmers who were asked to plant their crops by private players have not been able to sell the produce as the company says the quality is not good enough,” Vallabh said. “This is exactly what the farmers are protesting against. Misuse of the legislation by the private sector,” he added.

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