Modi's farm laws have left the farmers crying: Sonia Gandhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said the new farm bills had been drafted not on the basis of consultations with stakeholders but after talking to “friends” of the Prime Minister with no regard for farmers’ interests.
In a video message on Gandhi Jayanti, being observed as “Kisan-Mazdoor Bachao Divas (Save Farmers and Workers Day)”, Sonia contrasted the Narendra Modi government’s “black” farm laws with the pro-people legislations brought in by the Congress-led UPA.
“Today, the Prime Minister is inflicting great injustice upon the farmers of the country. The laws made for agriculture sector were not discussed with farmers. There was no consultation at all. Their interests were completely ignored and the black laws were framed after talking to some of his friends,” she said.
While Sonia did not spell out who these “friends” were, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly said the farm legislations were meant to help crony capitalists.
Sonia provided a similar hint. “When the mandi system is finished, hoarders are given the freedom to stock and capitalists take over farms, who will protect the crores of small farmers? What about the survival of agricultural labourers and the millions of others associated with the sector?” she said.
“The Modi government has left the farmers, who feed the nation with their blood and toil, crying. Asking for adequate price for their produce is their fundamental right. The Congress always drafted legislations after wide consultations and a consensual approach. The people’s interest was supreme in the drafting process. That’s what democracy entails. Every decision must have the people’s consent. Does the Modi government believe in this principle?”
Later, addressing a Gandhi Jayanti event in poll-bound Bihar through videoconferencing, Sonia said enough is enough. “Beware of those who run governments by creating fear and misconceptions and by exploiting emotions. Some people today use Mahatma Gandhi’s name but they demolished his values and ideals through their deeds. You can see for yourself — there’s violence everywhere, anarchic conditions, atrocities, discrimination, misconduct….
Hope you decide wisely,” she said.
Sonia contrasted the Modi government’s farm laws with the welfare legislations introduced by the Manmohan Singh government.
“You know who opposed and ridiculed the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act? Imagine what would have happened today during the corona crisis without MGNREGA,” she said.
“Thousands of the poor would have died of hunger. Forget generating new jobs — the public-sector units, which are the biggest employers, are being sold.”
In Parliament five years ago, Modi had called the rural job guarantee scheme “a living monument to your (the Congress’s) failures”.
Sonia cited how the Right to Information — which the UPA government had introduced as a transparency and anti-corruption measure — was being weakened.
“You keep asking questions but no replies will come. You understand why,” she said. “Laws relating to labour, women, health… are being diluted only to attack the rights of the citizens.”
While farmers are protesting the new farm laws, the new labour codes introduced in Parliament have triggered unease among the workers.
Congress workers staged sit-ins on Friday in every state to protest against the new farm and labour legislations, as well as against the alleged Hathras gang rape and murder and police misbehaviour with Rahul in Uttar Pradesh.
Rahul, pushed to the ground by a policeman on Thursday, sent out a message quoting Gandhi: “I won’t be scared of anybody…. I won’t bow to injustice, I will defeat untruth with truth and will face the miseries that come in the way of opposing untruth.”