AAP urges Centre to hold talks with protesting farmers
New Delhi: In a scathing condemnation of the BJP-led Centre and the Haryana government’s handling of farmers’ protests, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Delhi Convenor and Cabinet Minister, Gopal Rai, demanded swift action to address farmers’ concerns without further delay.
Addressing the media in New Delhi on Monday, Rai accused the authorities of employing draconian measures reminiscent of British colonial rule to suppress the farmers’ peaceful march to Delhi. He emphasised, “To stop them, it is adopting all the tactics which today are reminiscent of the era of slavery.”
Rai highlighted the farmers’ demand for the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce, as promised by the Prime Minister upon the withdrawal of three contentious farm laws in November 2021. The planned march, comprising farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, aims to advocate for their rights and fair treatment.
The AAP leader played a video showcasing alleged brutality and repression by the Haryana government, drawing parallels to India’s freedom struggle against British colonialism. Rai expressed disbelief at the treatment meted out to farmers, remarking, “If the souls of the freedom fighters were watching, they would not be able to believe how farmers are being treated in independent India for peacefully demanding what was assured to them by the Central government.”
He criticised the authorities for barricading roads and resorting to oppressive tactics to prevent farmers from reaching Delhi, questioning the government’s commitment to democracy. Rai also called attention to the failure to fulfill promises made during the previous farmers’ movement, including compensation for families of deceased farmers and withdrawal of cases against protestors.
Rai denounced the government’s insincerity in initiating talks with farmers while simultaneously imposing restrictions and intimidation tactics. He urged the Centre and the Haryana government to engage in meaningful dialogue and promptly address farmers’ grievances.
Furthermore, Rai warned of electoral consequences if the government fails to act swiftly, emphasising the electorate’s discontent with the current state of affairs. He appealed to BJP leaders to demonstrate humility and respect for democratic principles, urging them to reconsider their approach towards farmers.