New Delhi, October 4: Congress’s Rahul Gandhi promised Punjab farmers today that the party will remove the contentious farm sector laws once it comes to power in the Centre. Calling Minimum Support Price, food procurement and wholesale markers the “three pillars” of the country, Gandhi said “Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to destroy this system”.
“Their (the BJP’s) only aim is to destroy MSP and food procurement… The Congress is never going to let this government to do it,” he added, flagging off the three-day tractor rally by farmers in Punjab.
“I guarantee that whenever the Congress comes to power, we will remove these black laws. We will fight against the Narendra Modi government and will remove these black laws,” he said.
The Congress leader, later in the day, said farmers of the India cannot survive without MSP.
“Can farmers survive without MSP The country knows farmers of India, farmer of Punjab and Haryana cannot survive without MSP,” he said.
“Farmers’ union are all up against it (farm laws). We borrowed foodgrains from abroad after the 1960s and we are less than 2% area of national area, yet we feed more than 50% of the area. 65% of India depends on agriculture,” Captain Amarinder Singh said.
Gandhi also spoke about how mandis will be destroyed and said, “The Prime Minister says mandis are not needed. He says farmers can sell their produce anywhere. Mandis will be destroyed. Roads built linking mandis will be destroyed.”
“I know the system has its flaws. But the system cannot be destroyed. Make the system better,” he added.
The “Kheti Bachao Yatra” ( March to protect the agricultural sector) is aimed to highlight the Congress stand against the laws that were cleared by the parliament last month amid fiery protests by the opposition.
The BJP has said the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill are “historic reforms”.
The party has also blamed the Congress, claiming it is brainwashing farmers for their own interest.
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Farmers and the opposition claim the new laws — which enable them to sell produce to corporates anywhere in the country — lays them open to exploitation by big companies. They also say with the entry of private players into the agricultural sector, they will not get even the Minimum Support Price for their produce.
The protests against the two laws are the loudest in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, the grain bowl of the country. The vehemence of their protests has cost the BJP an ally – the Shiromani Akali Dal, which walked out of the government and the NDA last month. (PTI)