Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addresses a press conference after meeting with Farmers Union leaders on farm laws, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Som Prakash also seen along with him. ((ANI Photo))
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addresses a press conference after meeting with Farmers Union leaders on farm laws, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Som Prakash also seen along with him. ((ANI Photo))

Read your 2019 Lok Sabha manifesto: Tomar reminds Rahul Gandhi over farm laws

  • Tomar also attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi over her party’s stand on the laws. He said that both leaders should clarify if they were lying about these reforms in their election manifesto.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 07:53 PM IST

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for criticising the government over the new farm laws. Tomar also questioned the Congress Lok Sabha member’s stance over the farm reforms, saying that Gandhi had forgotten that even his party had promised the same reforms in its manifesto for the general elections in 2019.

“The Congress party laughs at statements and actions of Rahul Gandhi. The party mocks him. I would like to remind him that in their 2019 election manifesto Congress promised that they will bring these reforms. If he doesn't remember, he should once again read the manifesto,” the agriculture minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

In its plan for reforms in the agricultural sector, Congress’ election manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls had said that if the party forms the government it would “repeal the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) Act and make trade in agricultural produce — including exports and inter-state trade — free from all restrictions.” The party manifesto had also said it maintains that the “Essential Commodities Act, 1955 belongs to the age of controls. Congress promises to replace the Act by an enabling law that can be invoked only in the case of emergencies.”

Tomar also attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi over her party’s stand on the laws. He said that both leaders should clarify if they were lying about these reforms in their election manifesto. “If it is mentioned in the manifesto, then Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi should appear before the media and accept that they were either lying at that time or are lying now,” Tomar said.

Congress party workers observed Kisan Adhikar Divas on Friday to protest against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, and gheraoed Raj Bhawans across the country. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi also joined Congress workers and leader at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday morning to protest against the laws.

Rahul Gandhi during the protests alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to tire out the farmers. “The talks are being held only to delay. PM Modi thinks he has the power and will tire the farmers out, but he is mistaken. Narendra Modi does not have basic respect for farmers. He does not even care if over 100 farmers die. He thinks he has the power and the protesting farmers will tire out after some days, but they will not relent,” the former Congress president was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Tomar also said that discussions with farmers’ unions' representatives can solve the deadlock between the farmers and the government. Farmers’ unions' representatives and Union ministers could not reach a resolution on the farm laws, which were passed during the monsoon session of Parliament last year, after the ninth round of discussions concluded on Friday. The farmers' union representatives and the Centre will sit for another round of discussions on the farm laws on January 19.

Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Tomar had previously claimed that Congress was protesting against the farm laws because they lacked the willpower to implement them. Tomar in an interview with HT in December last year said that Congress could not implement these laws because of influence from allies.

“They spoke about these reforms in their election manifesto; when the UPA {United Progressive Alliance} was in power they made attempts to introduce these reforms, but could not because of dabav and prabhav (pressure and influence) (of allies). PM [Narendra] Modi Ji does not give in to pressure or influence,” Tomar had said.

Sithraman had also pointed out that the party had mentioned these reforms in their manifesto. “I want to ask Rahul Gandhi (that) were these pro-farmers policies not mentioned in the 2019 election manifesto of Congress? They are protesting just because those reforms are being implemented by PM Modi, and not them,” the Union finance minister had said.

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