Following an overnight visit to the rice ‘mandis’ of Punjab to interact with farmers the previous day, Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of agrarian distress in Parliament again on Wednesday. Exhorting the ruling government to pay heed to the needs of farmers, he said that if the government did not procure the grains of farmers from mandis they would plunge into deeper crisis.
“The farmers are crying in the mandis, they are in pain,” Mr. Gandhi said. Accusing the government of not coming to their aid, he said that the government had stopped their bonus because of which farmers suffered. He also drew attention to the inability of farmers to sell their produce and urged the government to procure their grains.
“Your government says ‘Make in India’ should happen, are the farmers not making in India?” he asked.
Taking a jibe at the PM, he said that he was often travelling abroad, but now that he was in the country, he advised the Prime Minister to visit Punjab and listen to the farmer’s woes. “If the farmer is suffering losses is compensated, then it is your gain, not ours,” he said and advised the government to procure grain from mandis as soon as possible.
Just a road-show
BJP spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri said Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the rice mandis of Punjab was merely a “road-show” for the media. Questioning his sudden love for the farmers, he asked Rahul if he remembered what was the state of the widow Kalawati, whose house he had visited in Vidarbha a few years ago.
He accused the previous Congress governments and its policies of creating the situation in which farmers lived today and wondered if the issue could be addressed through such road shows.
Following noisy exchanges between members of the BJP and the Congress, with Rahul attacking the government and the government getting back at him, Lok Sabha was adjourned.