Rahul flays govt over farm laws

Rahul flays govt over farm laws

New Delhi: In the sharpest attack on the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over farm laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that the PM is running the country on a "hum do, hamare do" (we two, our two) policy.

"The policy started with the implementation of demonetisation, Goods and Services tax, lockdown and most recently, the three farm laws passed in September that have had the farmers across the country up in arms," he said.

Though, the members from Treasury benches asked Rahul to name the two persons, the former Congress president did not name anyone and said that "everyone knows them".

As Gandhi was allowed by the Speaker to speak on Union Budget, he used this opportunity to turn the tables on the government by saying that he would speak on farmers' issue and wouldn't speak on Budget.

In reply to the PM's comments, Rahul Gandhi said, "Yesterday while addressing the House, the PM said that the Opposition is talking about the agitation but not about the content and intent of the farm laws. I thought I should make him happy today and speak on the content and intent of the laws."

The farmers' protest, he said, is not all that it appears. It is a struggle for survival for many others too. "You all feel that this is a farmers' protest, but you all are very wrong. This is India's protest... the farmers are just leading the way," he said.

"It's not that the farm laws will only ruin farmers and finish the middlemen, but it would have a "devastating effect" on small shopkeepers, small businessmen, street vendors, etc. It will be a "massive blow" to small and medium enterprise, which will "destroy" India's rural economy," he said.

"India will not be able to generate growth, generate jobs... all because the backbone of our nation would have been destroyed for the benefit of hum do, aur humare do," Gandhi added amid loud protests from BJP members.

There was constant heckling and disruptions from BJP MPs as Rahul Gandhi progressed with his speech. To BJP members' insistence that he stick to the subject of the debate –budget, Gandhi responded, "Agriculture is also part of the budget".

Explaining the objectives of the farm laws, he said, "The intent of the first farm law is to ensure that farmers' produce is sold to a top few industrialists - one of whom is known by all as the government's first friend. The intent of the second farm law is to ensure the benefits of the law go to the second friend."

"The intent of the government is clear –they want to break the backbone of India by breaking the farmer, labourer, small shop owners, middleman, and feed the pieces to these friends –the top industrialists," added the Congress leader.

The BJP's Anurag Thakur, who followed Gandhi, hit out saying that the Congress leader could not speak on the budget as he was not prepared.

Meanwhile, Gandhi also took on the government for insulting the sacrifices of Indian soldiers. "No status quo ante = No peace and tranquility. Why is government of India (GOI) insulting the sacrifice of our jawans and letting go of our territory?" he wrote on Twitter.

In a related development in Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party leader Vishambhar Prasad Nishad demanded the repeal of three farm laws and pitched for a new law to make minimum support price (MSP) mandatory for the procurement of agriculture produce.

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