Rahul draws DeMo, farm law parallel
Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday compared the disastrous demonetisation with the new farm laws, arguing that their purpose is the same — to help big corporates capture India’s wealth.
The former Congress chief said in a video message, “Demonetisation was not a fight against black money. The purpose was to weaken the informal sector. Kisan-Mazdoor (farmers and labourers) are the backbone of India. They want to break India’s backbone. The intention is to capture India’s wealth. These three laws aren’t delinked — demonetisation, GST and farm laws — the purpose is the same.”
Conversing with a group of farmers through videoconferencing, he said, “They hit your feet with axe thrice. Now they have stabbed you in the heart. Media won’t tell you this. But I have clarity in my mind. We have to oppose it. They haven’t built this nation. They were standing with the British. They have no understanding. And this is not about farmers. Farmers’ strength is not limited to farming. They send their sons to army, police… their strength gave India freedom.”
While he listed notebandi (demonetisation) and GST as two axe-attacks, he had earlier said lockdown too was a planned attack on the informal sector to facilitate the big corporates to capture that wealth. He repeated on Tuesday that the Narendra Modi government chose help the corporates during the coronavirus-induced lockdown when the need was to help the poor. He said, “The wealth of a few industrialists grew during the lockdown but your incomes dipped.”
The Congress leader who has ruthlessly attacked the Modi government since the very beginning for pursuing pro-rich policies and working to help crony capitalists, saw a pattern in their policies — from the brazen attempts to dilute the Land Acquisition Act to the introduction of farm bills without consulting the stakeholders. He even complained that the media started attacking him only after he adopted an uncompromising position on the Land Acquisition Act.
Some farmers he talked to also described this government as pro-rich and even pointed to the labour code that diluted the rights of the workers. Arguing that it had become difficult to trust the Prime Minister, they rejected his assurances on the new farm bills. They said the corporates will capture the farming sector and the farmers will be reduced to daily-wage earners. One even hailed Rahul’s role in saving the Land Acquisition Act and entreated him to fight again.
While the farmers across the country haven’t paid any heed to the Prime Minister’s argument that the Congress was misleading them while the farm laws were going to be extremely beneficial to them, the Congress too reacted angrily to Modi’s charge that they were opposing because another source of black money had dried up. The Prime Minister had strongly rejected the perception that demonetisation would harm the economy and repeatedly claimed that only the corrupt and black-money holders were opposing the great decision. He doesn’t debate those issues after the consequences became clear over the last few years, the Congress said.
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s charge, many Congress leaders wondered if the 250 farmers’ associations and agriculture workers were also agitating because their source of black money was being closed.
Punjab chief minister Amrinder Singh on Tuesday held an exhaustive discussion with farmer groups who unanimously said the laws were destructive and pro-corporate. He again vowed to fight with them and protect the farmers from these laws come what may.
Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh reacted to the Prime Minister’s barb with a series of tweets. “The new farm laws will in effect move agricultural trade from APMCs to markets controlled by private companies. Minimum Support Price will not be applicable when private companies buy farm produce as there’s no such provision in the two laws. The Prime Minister is being true to himself and lying. Jagadguru of Jhoot!”
Ramesh added, “Demonetisation was sold by Jagadguru of Jhoot (JoJ) as a way of recovering black money. That turned out to be wholly bogus. Now JoJ is proclaiming farm laws are an attack on black money! This is BIZARRE by even his standards. He will say anything to sell himself.”