Opposition leaders from across the political spectrum on Saturday targeted the Narendra Modi government for its handling of the ongoing farmers’ protests , with the Congress asking the Prime Minister to talk to the agitating farmers instead of “getting himself photographed at corporate offices”.
In a joint statement, senior Opposition leaders of eight political parties, including Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party), T.R. Baalu (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party India-Marxist), D. Raja (Communist Party of India) and Manoj Jha (Rashtriya Janata Dal), among others, described the Centre’s response as “akin to waging war against the farmers”.
Asking the Centre to reverse its decision of not allowing farmers to hold protests in Delhi, these Opposition leaders said, “We reiterate our opposition to these new agri-laws that threaten India’s food security, abolish MSP [Minimum Support Price], destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers- ‘Annadatas’. The Central Government must adhere to the democratic process and norms and address the concerns of the protesting farmers.”
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Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav too took to Twitter and shared a verse by poet Uday Pratap Singh, in praise of the farmers whose “blood and sweat provide the pulse to the nation”.
Sharing a photograph of an old farmer facing the baton of a paramilitary/police personnel on his Twitter handle, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said farmers were paying the price for Mr. Modi’s arrogance.
“This is a very sad photo. Our slogan was ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’, but today a jawan (soldier) is standing against the farmer due to PM Modi’s arrogance. This is very dangerous,” he said.
Other leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Shashi Tharoor, too shared the photograph that had gone viral on social media platforms like Twitter.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that Mr. Modi was getting himself photographed in corporate offices while farmers are protesting on Delhi roads.
“Wish the PM talks to farmers on the road instead of flying in the aircraft. Corona vaccine will be developed by scientists and researchers. Farmers will feed the population. And Mr Modi and the BJP will take care of television,” he said in a tweet soon after the Prime Minister visited a company in Ahmedabad that is engaged in the COVID-19 vaccine research.
While Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi claimed that anyone who protests against the Modi government is “deemed a terrorist”, another of his colleagues, Jaiveer Shergil asked the Agriculture Minister to apologise for “beating up the kisan with lathis by the jawans”.