Reminding farmers of their strength when united, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary on Sunday held separate kisan panchayats in west Uttar Pradesh and hit out at the BJP for failing to address their concerns over the three farm laws brought by the Modi government at the Centre.
“The farmers have been protesting for the past 100 days against the three farm laws. Over 200 farmers have been martyred. It was the duty of the government that it should have met the farmers and listen to their issues. The BJP government mocked farmers’ martyrdom and insulted them. I urge you to take the agitation to every village… None of the BJP MP could muster up the courage to speak a word for them in the Parliament,” Priyanka said at a kisan panchayat at Kelly village in Meerut.
“It was the farmers’ community which waged a war against Britishers in 1857 when they implemented several draconian laws that spelt trouble for the agrarian community… A similar situation has come now after the Modi government passed three farm bills without consulting anyone,” she said, adding that the controversial farm laws would not benefit the farmers in any way but have been brought only to make big businessmen close to the Modi government richer.
“Private mandis will not be taxed and there will be tax in the government mandis. People will be incentivised towards private mandis. Slowly government markets will shut and the private sector will gradually do away with MSP (minimum support price). On the outside, the law appears to be beneficial but in essence, it will harm the farmers,” she said.
“If the laws are to benefit everyone, why are lakhs of them protesting? Shouldn’t Narendra Modi ji respect their will? The reason why the PM can travel the world and not meet the farmers is because this government doesn’t respect the farmers. The government is clearly not thinking about their interests or benefit,” she added.
Speaking about the cane farmers of west UP, the Congress general secretary in-charge of UP said: “Dues of cane farmers in Uttar Pradesh is running in several thousand crores. But without caring for their welfare, the BJP government at the Centre has purchased two aircraft worth Rs 16,000 crore for the Prime Minister to travel,” she said.
“PM Modi has ample time to address rallies in West Bengal and make trips to the USA, Pakistan and China but he is yet to find the time to meet the protesting farmers who are sitting on borders of Delhi for more than 100 days,” she added.
She exhorted the farmers to not let the momentum of the protests to slow. “The kind of situation the government created for you, you should create for them. There must come a point that they are compelled to listen to you. While 100 days have passed, this protest must continue. There must be even more strength and courage in the days to come We have to be strong,” Priyanka said, adding that the Congress is “indebted” to farmers.
“We are indebted to you. This is not a matter of politics for us since we owe it to the farmers of this country. We in the Congress will continue to back you not only for 100 days but even for 100 years because we know that you are fighting for your survival,” Priyanka added.
The Congress leader has been holding back-to-back rallies in UP to garner support for the farmers’ movement.
Meanwhile, at a kisan panchayat at Dhikauli village in Baghpat district, RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary exhorted farmers to make the Modi government feel the hardships that the government has “forced” on them through the farm laws.
Terming the Centre’s new agriculture laws a “disaster”, Chaudhary urged the farmers to “uproot” the “anti-farmer” BJP government to ensure the withdrawal of these legislations.
“When farmers of the entire country are agitating and upset, how can the prime minister sleep peacefully?… We farmers voted for the BJP in a large number that helped the party to get a huge majority in Parliament and also in the UP Assembly. But now you will have to elect your representatives not only in all the 403 Assembly seats in UP but also in 543 Lok Sabha seats. Vote for the candidates who will actually care for your problems,” Chaudhary said.
“Do not let your strength to fight get weakened as farmers from all over the country have now stood up for the protesting farmers on the Dehli borders. We should keep on solidifying our unified strength because we (the farmers) are fighting with a government which have nearly a hundred tools to weaken your strength,” Chaudhary exhorted.
“We have to unite and forget about our caste and religion for the repeal of the three farm laws. This agitation is not by any particular caste but all farmers,” he added.