Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 6
Backing a special Vidhan Sabha session against the three controversial farm Acts, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today rejected the suggestion that the Union Government was able to take unilateral decisions because of a “weak Opposition”.
‘Indebted to state’
Asked why Punjabis should trust him, Rahul recalled a childhood memory of how a handful of Sikhs had protected the family when his grandmother Indira Gandhi lost the parliamentary election in 1977. “There was nobody in the house except these Sikhs who protected my grandmother,” he recalled. “I owe a debt to people of Punjab,” he said.
Following a query pertaining to convening a special session to protect farmers at a media interaction, Rahul asked Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, sitting alongside him, to answer the question. “We will not only call a special session to prevent these Acts from being implemented in Punjab, but also take legal recourse to ensure that our farmers are saved,” said Captain Amarinder.
Takes swipe at Modi
The Congress leader slammed PM Narendra Modi for “wasting” thousands of crores of rupees on a plane just because “his friend Donald Trump has one”. He said it was strange that nobody was questioning the purchase of a VVIP Boeing 777-300 ER, but everyone was quick to point to the cushioned “gaddi” that some well-wisher had put on a tractor for him.
Rahul said farmers’ interest was always supreme and even the party mainfesto supported setting up of grain markets. Later, after an hour-long standoff between Congress workers and the Haryana Police, the three-day Congress “Kheti Bachao Yatra” culminated in the state today.
The Haryana Police refused to allow hundreds of tractors and supporters into the state, citing law and order situation. This led to a heated argument between party leaders and police. Rahul and others were later allowed into Haryana.
Earlier at a rally at Francewala village near Sanaur, Rahul lashed out at the BJP-led government over its “anti-people” policies. “The poor have become poorer and the rich are getting richer while the Prime Minister is serving the interests of corporate houses at the cost of small businessmen, farmers, arhtiyas and farm labourers,” he said.
“The farmers will die rather than bow to the unjust and barbaric laws,” said Rahul, adding the mandi and procurement system, which the new farm laws would destroy, was the protective shield for the farming community. “Do you need such a system where shopping malls are constructed while farmers die of starvation?” he said, adding that he would never allow this to happen.
Castigating the BJP government, Captain Amarinder said farmers in the country had risen against the Modi regime. The Centre, he said, was hell-bent on finishing the farmers and farm labourers.
“If the farmers are really happy with these laws, as the Centre claims, then why are they out on the streets?” said the CM, asserting Punjab’s war against these laws would continue until these were rolled back.
Pledging to stand with peasants, Patiala MP Preneet Kaur said the CM had not left any stone unturned in the fight for the rights of the farmers. PPCC
president Sunil Jakhar said the day the destiny of the farmers went into the hands of corporate giants, the PDS and mandi system would be finished.
Prominent among those present were Cabinet ministers Vijay Inder Singla, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Brahm Mohindra, Manish Tewari, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Gurjit Singh Aujala and Partap Singh Bajwa.
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