Press Trust of india

Modi ‘finishing’ farmers, labourers with three laws: Rahul

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Sangrur (Pb):  Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “finishing” farmers and labourers with the three farm laws introduced recently just as he had “destroyed” small shopkeepers with demonetisation and implementation of GST.

Addressing a public gathering in this Punjab town, Gandhi claimed that none of the policies of the Modi-led Central government during the last six years were meant to benefit the poor, farmers or labourers.

“All of its policies are made for their three-to four select friends,” he said.

Gandhi underscored the need for removing the shortcomings in the food procurement and Public Distribution System.

“There is a need to strengthen this system. More mandis need to be set up. There is a need to guarantee MSP (minimum support price), to give infrastructure to farmers, to set up silos,” he said.

“Narendra Modi is not strengthening the system…  If Modi gives better PDS, guarantees MSP and brings more mandis, then Ambani and Adani cannot make money,” the Congress leader alleged.

He claimed the new agriculture-related laws were not only “against” farmers and labourers but the entire nation and were meant to “snatch” the country’s freedom.

“Like he (Modi) finished small traders and small and medium enterprises with GST (Goods and Services Tax) and demonetisation, he is finishing farmers and labourers the same way and slashing your throats with these three laws,” he said.

He also asked the BJP-led Centre why it was in a “hurry” to bring the laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason is because Modi thinks if feet of farmers and labourers are hit with axes during coronavirus time, then they will not be able to come out of their houses,” he said.

Gandhi, who is holding a series of tractor rallies during his ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’ across Punjab to protest the Centre’s new farm laws, also accused the Prime Minister of “destroying” the food system.

He alleged that the Centre waived the debt of “people like Ambani and Adani” but “finished” small and medium businesses.

“Modi ji is clearing the way for Ambani and Adani and you will have to understand this,” he told the gathering.

Stating that it was not “Ambani and Adani” but small and medium sized businesses who generate employment, Gandhi said, “I am saying with a guarantee that this country will not be able to give employment to its youth in the coming time because Modi has destroyed the employment providing system”.

“After GST, demonetisation and coronavirus, Modi ji is now into destroying our food security system,” he alleged.

Gandhi said farmers in Punjab, a Congress-ruled state, can approach the administration in if they face any problem in mandis.

He alleged that people would have to pay twice or thrice the price for food once “Ambani and Adani captured the country’s farm system”.

“Tomorrow one side will be Ambani and the other side will be Adani. Can you fight them, can you file a case against them. Certainly not,” he said.

He also said lakhs of people will be unemployed with the dismantling of the mandi system.

Addressing another gathering, Gandhi said the Congress will not allow the disbanding of MSP and mandi systems.

“MSP, mandis and food procurement systems are like a wall. Narendra Modi wants to break this wall for Ambani and Adani,” he said.

“How Britishers ruled India? They broke the backbone of farmers. The day backbone of farmers and labourers is broken, the entire country will be enslaved,” he said.

Gandhi said he will not allow the Modi-led government to attack the “soul” of India. “We will not step back even an inch. We will collectively fight Modi, Ambani and Adani,” he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, ministers Balbir Sidhu, Vijay Inder Singla, Rana Gurmit Sodhi and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda were among the leaders present on the occasion.

MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was not present at the protest rally.

President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which were passed by the Parliament last month.

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