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Congress cautions farmers against 'BJP plan' to reintroduce farm laws

We took a step back but we will move forward again: Narendra Singh Tomar
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
File photo

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 26.12.21, 02:24 AM

The Congress on Saturday cautioned farmers against an alleged BJP plan to reintroduce the repealed farm laws through the backdoor, flagging a comment by Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and claiming there were several other indications too.

“The country’s agriculture minister has insulted Modiji’s apology. This is condemnable. If anti-farming steps are taken again, there will be another satyagraha by farmers. Arrogance was defeated earlier, it will be defeated again,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.


Tomar has been quoted as saying in Maharashtra, in the context of the rescinded farm laws: “We took a step back but we will move forward again.”

Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said: “We had said from the very beginning that Prime Minister Narendra Modi retreated (on the contentious farm laws) fearing heavy losses in the upcoming Assembly elections. He made a tactical retreat.”

Surjewala said: “They intend to hand over the agriculture trade to their capitalist friends and they will hit back again. The farmers should teach the BJP a lesson by defeating them in the five states that are going to the polls.”

The Congress warning and appeal came on a day some farmer unions announced they would float a political outfit and contest the Punjab elections. This will worry the Congress, but the party is hoping that not all the farmer unions would join the upcoming political outfit.

Although the Congress is still assessing the situation, Surjewala tried to play down the development, saying everybody was free to contest in a democracy.

While the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will not as a whole turn into a political party, 22 farmer unions have decided to fight the Punjab elections under the banner of a Samyukta Samaj Morcha.

Balbir Singh Rajewal, a senior farmer leader, is leading the initiative and there is speculation about a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party.

Surjewala, however, focused on warning the farmers against a possible return of the controversial farm laws and stressed the Congress’s support for the farmers’ movement.

“When smaller BJP leaders talked about the virtues of the (repealed) farm laws and the need for such reforms, people said, ‘Ignore it’. Then the BJP MP, Sakshi Maharaj, who is close to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, said the laws would be brought back,” he said.

“Now agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has himself said it.”

Surjewala said Tomar had at the Maharashtra event described the revoked farm laws as progressive and declared that the government was committed to such reforms.

Surjewala asked why the government had repealed the three laws and why the Prime Minister had apologised if the laws were progressive. “The anti-farmer face of the BJP stands exposed again,” he said.

While announcing the decision to repeal the three laws, Prime Minister Modi had apologised for failing to make the agitating farmers see their merit.

The RSS-affiliated farmer union, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, too has threatened a nationwide campaign seeking the reintroduction of the three farm laws with some amendments, saying these laws would benefit 90 per cent of the country’s farmers.

The union has announced a public awareness programme in every village in the country between January 1 and 10, and protests in every block on January 11.

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