New Delhi, February 8: The Congress on Monday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Parliament was without any substance and he betrayed farmers by saying nothing to resolve their problems.
Congress members in Rajya Sabha also walked out of the House after the prime minister’s reply to a discussion on a motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session.
Farmers had expected the prime minister to address their grievances and all eyes were on him, but he let them down by not giving a solution to their over 75-day agitation against the new farm laws, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.
He said the prime minister should have announced repeal of the farm laws and bringing fresh ones after wider consultations with all stakeholders.
Sources close to Kharge claimed that after he made the remarks, he got a threat call. Kharge will be lodging a police complaint, they said.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradeshm are protesting at Delhi’s borders since November 28 last year against the legislations and demanding these be withdrawn.
“The prime minister’s address in Rajya Sabha today had no substance and as usual he made a political speech. The prime minister tried to mislead in his speech and said nothing to resolve the issues of farmers,” Kharge said.
“We thought that the PM will speak something about the farmers’ movement. But, he did not say anything on the farmers’ problems and only gave his speech. That is why we condemn such things and he should understand the problems of 14.6 crore farmers,” he said.
Kharge said that “his (Modi’s) speech was not to resolve the farmers issues but only to mislead the country through his speech”.
“We expected that the prime minister will take back the three laws keeping in view the farmers’ agitation and protests across the country and will later amend them after talking to all stakeholders in Parliament,” he said.
However, Prime Minister Modi did not talk about them and only said that “no one knows about the three laws but people are protesting”, the Congress leader said.
Kharge said the prime minister never bothered about the issues raised by the Congress and only talked about what he thought.
“He is trying to mislead the people that they do not know what is in the laws. Are we fools, and over 14.6 crore farmers are there in the country, among whom there are many who are educated,” Kharge said.
The Congress leader said the prime minister ignored the shortcomings in the laws and raised the Essential Commodities Act, the law on giving land on contract to the rich and handing over business to the rich after demolishing mandis.
The farmers are protesting 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.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “In Parliament today, PM Modi said that FDI is also Foreign Destructive Ideology’. This from someone whose governance has been based solely on FDI Fear, Deception, Intimidation”.
The party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, said that “apart from rhetoric, Modi ji could not say anything concrete in Rajya Sabha”.
“Neither did he give any assurance to farmers agitating for 75 days and nor did he say anything on the intrusions by China at the border. A self-obsessed prime minister actually appeared to be in the role of a ‘pracharak’ and not the PM. That is the unfortunate truth,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
On multi-layered barricading and iron nails studded on roads at farmers’ protest sites, Surjewala said after laying spikes in the path of agitating farmers, Prime Minister Modi in Rajya Sabha asked them to talk to the government and end their agitation.
“Join hearts, as one cannot be a leader by dividing people,” he said using a Hindi couplet.
Another Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said that not just the country, but people at the international level watching the prime minister speak in Rajya Sabha also thought a solution would come out.
“There were a lot of hopes from the prime minister, but it is sad that the manner in which he made fun in his speech. The prime minister has betrayed everyone, as he did not speak about the problems of farmers. He did not even pay his condolences to the farmers who died during the agitation. He did not name China…,” Gohil said.
Prime Minister Modi on Monday appealed to protesting farmers to end their agitation against the new farm laws even as he questioned opposition parties for their sudden “U-turn” on the agriculture sector reforms, saying they were mum on the reasons for the agitation.
Replying to the debate on motion of thanks on President’s address, the prime minister also hit out at those behind the protests, saying a new “breed” of agitators called “andolan jeevi” has emerged in the country who cannot live without an agitation and the nation should guard against them.
He also slammed those abusing agitating Sikh farmers, saying it won’t do the country any good as he went on to appeal to the protesting farmers to withdraw their over two-month-long stir and give the new agriculture reform laws a chance.
Punning on the term FDI, which stands for Foreign Direct Investment, Modi said a new thing of FDI has emerged in India, which he said was Foreign Destructive Ideology.
“We need to be more aware to save the country from such ideology”, the prime minister said. (PTI)