The Congress Party on Saturday held a protest in Jammu in a bid to express solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ agitation. The protest was organised by District Congress Committee Jammu (Urban).
The Protest was led by Former Ministers Raman Bhalla ( Vice President) and Yogesh Sawhney ( General Secretary) JKPCC. Various Congress leaders came out to show opposition to the anti-farmer farm laws and demand their repeal.
Hitting out at the Prime Minister for his remarks that farm laws reforms have opened doors of new opportunities for farmers, former Minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla said that insistence in support of the laws shows that the government is “drunk with power” and is rigid even in reconsidering the laws. He demanded that Govt should immediately announce the suspension of the three “anti-agriculture” laws. He attacked the government over the protest by farmers, alleging “promise was to double farmers’ income, the Modi government did double income, but that of Adani-Ambani”. “Those who are still defending the black farm laws, what solution will they find in favour of farmers?” he said.
Former Minister further said that BJP Govt’s “obduracy, arrogance and rigidity in dealing with 62 crore farmers and farm labourers of India is writ large” over his insistence in the ‘Mann ki Baat’ that the three “anti-farmer, anti-agriculture” laws are correct.”For the Prime Minister to say that these three laws are absolutely right when lakhs and lakhs of farmers are sitting around Delhi agitating, demanding their withdrawal, shows that the Modi government is drunk with power,” he said. It shows that a government “drunk with power” is rigid even in re-contemplating and reconsidering the three “anti-agriculture black laws,” he added.
Bhalla maintained that the laws will pave way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates. “The farmers of the country are angry and agitated over the three farm laws enacted recently by the Central government. It would be better if the Centre reconsiders these laws enacted without forging any consensus with farmers,” he said. He attacked the Centre, accusing it of seeking to mortgage the country to the rich.“Insulting farmers by calling them terrorists is the worst face of the BJP. The BJP, which favours the rich, is conspiring to mortgage farms, farming, small business, trading, roads, transportation and everything else to the rich… If farmers are terrorists for the BJP, the BJP leaders and workers should pledge not to consume the food grown by them,” he said.
He said “perhaps, for the farmers this will be written in black letters as we are seeing that farmers are in distress, they are not getting proper prices for produce, trade is suffering and they are unable to give daily remuneration to those working on the farms,” he said. The bills that have been brought in are not to help the farmers, but to help the corporate sector and big capitalists, he alleged adding that the “MSP that farmers get is in danger”.These laws will give freedom to corporates to “brutally exploit the farmers and take away the protection that the minimum support price gives them and the various mandi acts give them”, he alleged.
Addressing the protesters, Sawhney said that the new farm laws passed by the government are an injustice to the farmers and India. Farmers are the heart and soul of India, and attacking them is the gravest mistake the BJP has made. This is hateful politics and the Congress party will not stand by it. The black Farm Laws are flawed to the core and our farmers deserve better, he said.
Further attacking the BJP government for passing the farm bills despite the Farmers’ opposition, he commented that the Congress party and people across country will vehemently support the farmers until the laws are revoked, even if it takes years to do so. “We would not let the Farmers’ livelihoods be threatened by this shameless government. All strata of our country are today collectively advocating for the farmers. Not just the Congress party but common women and men too are raising their voice against these infuriating laws.”, he said.
He further added that an alarming facet of the farm laws is that the farmers are denied a basic MSP, a guaranteed minimum, and are left at the behest of big companies. Small farmers aren’t well equipped to bargain with overwhelmingly powerful corporates. Farmers need state support and to deny it is a big mistake.
He criticized the BJP for “depriving all sections of society their due rights with each bill they pass unconstitutionally in the parliament and without people’s consent”. And said that this government is rightly called anti-people and pro-rich because it’s objective seems to be to protect the rich, the big corporate and their wealthy friends. They don’t care about the poor or the small farmers.”