Tribune News Service
Sangrur, October 5
The Rahul Gandhi-Captain Amarinder Singh tractor juggernaut was unstoppable for the second day of the three-day 'Kheti Bachao Yatra' on Monday, with the two leaders continuing their unsparing attack on the Modi government for its "shameless bid to destroy not just the farmers but the entire nation with their black laws".
The central government’s assault on farmers would lead to the ruin of the entire nation, warned Rahul Gandhi, addressing a rally at Barnala Chow in Sangrur at the start of the tractor rally, which was scheduled to travel through Bhawanigarh, Fatehgarh Chhana, Bahmna, to join another rally at the Grain Market in Samana in Patiala district.
The farmers, however, will not be scared into submission, said Rahul, warning the Modi government that they will brave COVID to fight for their rights out on the streets of Punjab and the rest of the country.
Joined by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who lashed out at the Union Government for destroying the time-tested farmer-Arhtiya relationship to hand over Agriculture to big corporates like Adanis and Ambanis, Rahul made it clear that the Congress would not stop fighting for the farmers. Farmers will be left at the mercy of big industrialists by these new laws, whom they will never be able to fight or go to for help, the Congress leaders said, adding that the farm laws will spell doom for the farming community.
“Will you go to Adanis and Ambani's when in need, as you do with to the Arhtiyas at present?” the Chief Minister asked the farmers, while Rahul said once these industrialists take control of food, every household will have to pay three-fold for the produce, leading to devastation and suffering for the entire nation. Not only will the farmers lose their land and livelihood, but others associated with the Mandis and the food procurement chain will also be rendered jobless said, Rahul.
The Congress MP said the need of the hour was to strengthen the existing system and to correct the flaws in it, rather than to destroy it. Modi is only clearing the ground for his industrialist friends to take over, he added.
Rahul lashed out at the BJP-led Government of India for trying to finish agriculture after failing to generate the promised employment. It is not Ambani and Adani who create jobs but small businesses and MSMEs, which Modi has been ruining with his ill-conceived moves like demonetisation, GST etc, he added. Pointing out that for six years Modi had been attacking the poor with his policies, Rahul said with demonetisation the common people’s hard-earned money was diverted through the banks too big industrialists, and with GST he has ruined the SMEs and small traders. Even the COVID crisis has been used by the Prime Minister to help out his capitalist friends, whose loans and taxes he has waived off or reduced said, Rahul.
Amid slogans of 'Captain Paanian Da Rakha Zindabad', the Chief Minister told the people in the heartland of the Malwa region, which produces the highest yield in wheat and paddy, that the Modi government had backtracked on every single promise, be it the constitutional promise of GST or employment or doubling of farmers’ income. For seven months, Punjab had not got its share of GST, leaving the state struggling to manage amid COVID, he said.
Asserting that the Congress, with Rahul leading the way, will fight for the farmers till their last breath, the Chief Minister appealed to the MP to repeal the black laws once he becomes Prime Minister. Rahul has come to hold the hand of the farmers, he said, terming the new Farm Laws an act of total injustice with the farming community. The Modi government does not know how agriculture works in Punjab and the country, he said, adding that these legislations would pave the way for scrapping MSP and winding up FCI, as per the Shanta Kumar committee recommendations.
Warning that these laws will led to the closure of the Mandis, he said his government could not let the Union Government do that and will take all steps, including a Vidhan Sabha session to counter the new legislations, and challenging the Centre’s laws in Supreme Court.
Recalling his bonding with Sangrur, Chief Minister said that “this is the land of my forefathers and its sacred soil produced martyrs like Shaheed Udham Singh, who kept the soil of Jallianwala Bagh with him to act as a constant reminder to avenge the tragedy of 1919.” “We derive inspiration from such heroes and martyrs,” said Captain Amarinder Singh.
PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, ex-Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Cabinet Ministers Balbir Sidhu and Vijay Inder Singla also spoke on the occasion, which was attended, among others, by AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat, Haryana Congress leader Deepender Hooda. Cabinet Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi also shared the stage, along with
Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy.
The occasion also saw a farmer named Mukhtiar Singh from Kanjhla village, holding four acres of land, narrating his tale of woes to the Chief Minister and other leaders.
The venue resonated with slogans of `Kissan-arhrtiya-mazdoor Ekta zindabad’ by the farmers, arhtiyas and labourers who had gathered in large numbers to welcome Rahul and Captain Amarinder, before they embarked on a tractor rally through Fatehgarh Chhana, Bahmna (Samana, District Patiala). The rally was scheduled to end in a public meeting at Grain Market, Samana.
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