Protests against farm laws not limited to farmers, says Rahul

Taunting the Modi government with a “ham do, hamare do” barb, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that the ongoing protest against three contentious farm laws is not just limited to the farmers, and that the laws will have to be withdrawn because the stir has now got the support of the entire country.

He said that the farmers are only showing a “torch” through the ongoing over 75-day long farmers’ protest, and the whole country is now preparing to stand against the government and its way of administration.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Budget 2021-2022 discussion, the former Congress President alleged that the government is only focussing on the benefit to private companies.

Declining to name them, he said that “you know who those are”.

“The farmers and labourers of the country will not stay back. You will have to take back the three farm laws. This movement is not only limited to farmers, it has been the movement of whole country against ‘ham do, hamare do’,” he said.

Gandhi said the livelihood of farmers, labourers, small businessmen will be hit if these laws will be implemented. “The food security system of the country will be finished completely, economy will be ruined, and there will be no employment.”

He also mentioned how demonetisation, GST and Covid has already hit the common people, farmers and labourers.

His attack was vehemently criticised by the treasury benches who requested Speaker Om Birla to expunge such comments.

Amid the uproar, Gandhi said he has chosen to speak only on the “intent and content” of the three laws as suggested by Prime Minister in his speech on Wednesday in the lower House.

Beginning with the first farm law, he said it gives authority to each person to purchase as much agriculture produce as he can, and asked who will go to Mandis if unlimited purchase will be done outside. “So, the purpose of the first law is to finish all Mandis.”

The content of the second law, Gandhi said, allow anyone to store grains, fruits and vegetables as much as he wants. “The purpose is to end essential commodities and begin hoarding.”

About the third law, he said it will not allow farmers to settle matter in courts if anyone will seek clarification on Minimum Support Price (MSP).

“The intent of the first law is to give selling rights to its first friend.”

“Who will face the consequence? It will be a common man.”

Gandhi then said that the “second friend of the government will have the right to purchase and store the agriculture produces in silos”.

Quoting Prime Minister’s Wednesday speech in which he said that these laws will be “optional, not compulsory”, he leader said: “These laws will give three options — hunger, unemployment and suicide.”

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi requested the chair to restrict his speech only to the Budget discussion citing a Parliament ruling. Congress leader in the house Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, cited another ruling of Parliament, saying “discussion on general thing is allowed”.

At the end of his speech, Gandhi, along with his party members kept two minute silence in the House in the memory of those farmers who have lost their lives so far during the protest against the three laws which were enacted in September last year during Monsoon Session.