Congress rally against farm laws in Bangalore
The Congress on Wednesday mobilised thousands of party workers and farmers to stage a massive rally against the contentious farm laws in an event that left the city choked.
The principal Opposition party made good use of the popular sentiments against the farm laws to attract a huge gathering in the first such show of strength in the city after the series of protests against the citizenship matrix.
The protesters who assembled at the city railway station marched for around 3km towards Freedom Park and then tried to lay siege to the Raj Bhavan to send the message loud and clear to the NDA government in Delhi.
But the huge police deployment prevented them from getting anywhere near Raj Bhavan, located just over a kilometre from Freedom Park. Police detained hundreds of protesters, including senior Congress leaders, before releasing them later.
Among those who were detained and bussed away were state Congress president D.K. Shivakumar and leader of the Opposition P.C. Siddaramiah.
Chants of “anti-farmer Modi” and “anti-farmer BJP” rent the air as the protesters marched, or rode tractors and trucks towards the protest venue.
Congress leaders who addressed the public meeting at Freedom Park made it clear that it was not just a party event but a platform for the farmers whose voices need to be heard by the state and central governments.
“This is not just a Congress event. This is the voice of the state, the nation and our farmers,” Shivakumar told the rally.
Originally planned for January 15, the event was postponed because of Sankranti that is widely celebrated across the state.
“This agitation is not limited to organising this rally, but we are organising such protests in every taluk in the state to drive home the message that farmers want the farm laws repealed,” Shivakumar said.
“I urge the Prime Minister to publish the names of farmers and low-paid workers who benefited from the Rs 20 lakh crore (economic stimulus) package. We know this government is working only for large corporations and not for ordinary citizens,” he said.
Siddaramiah said the country’s farmers have decided to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Modi, why are you working against farmers when the whole country is asking you to repeal the farm laws? If you have any humanity and decency left, please listen to the farmers and their women and children protesting in Delhi,” Siddaramiah said.
He said the Supreme Court’s stay on the implementation of the farm laws was a loss of face for the Prime Minister.
“If these laws are pro-farmer, why do you think the Supreme Court stayed their implementation? The order is a loss of face for you. Yet you don’t listen to the farmers,” Siddaramiah said.
He described the rally as the beginning of what would continue till the next Lok Sabha elections. “I am telling you, Modi and Yediyurappa, our farmers have organised themselves against you,” he added.
The Congress leaders alleged that vehicles carrying thousands of protesters were stopped outside the city limits.
“The BJP government is doing to the farmers what the British colonial power did to stop the freedom movement. But they must realise that if the British can be sent packing by our freedom fighters, it’s not too difficult for the people to remove the BJP from power,” former minister Krishna Byre Gowda told reporters.