If elected, INDIA bloc will ensure legal guarantee for MSPs: Rahul Gandhi

Says farmers are not getting the right prices for their crops; RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav asks why the PM has time to meet Priyanka Chopra, but no time for protesting farmers

Updated - February 17, 2024 01:09 am IST

Published - February 16, 2024 07:22 pm IST - PATNA

RJD leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav driving the jeep along with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Sasaram - Rohtas district of Bihar. 

RJD leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav driving the jeep along with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Sasaram - Rohtas district of Bihar.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement 

If the INDIA bloc comes to power, it will ensure that farmers get a legal guarantee that they will be paid minimum support prices (MSPs) for their crops, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi vowed on February 16. He added that farmers are currently “not getting the right price” for their produce.

Thousands of farmers are currently in a face-off with the Union government at the Punjab-Haryana border as they attempt to march to Delhi with a seven point agenda, including a long standing demand for a legally guaranteed MSPs. An umbrella farmers’ group, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, called for a nationwide strike on February 16 to press their demands.

Addressing the Kishan Nyay Mahapanchayat in Sasaram in Bihar’s Rohtas district as part of his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Mr. Gandhi said that things would be different if the Opposition alliance, which includes the Congress, is voted into power in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

Also Read | Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in hospital, will not join Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra as it enters U.P.

‘Revolutionary decision’

“I can guarantee one thing, whenever farmers have asked anything from the Congress party — be it waiving off their loans, MSPs, or the Green Revolution — we have never backed out. We have always protected you and will keep protecting the farmers,” he said. “Farmers are not getting the right price for their yields like paddy, wheat, pulses and vegetables. I have taken a revolutionary decision to implement a legal MSP guarantee if the INDIA bloc comes to power. We will implement what the Swaminathan report says,” he added.

A report by a panel headed by the late M.S. Swaminathan, posthumously awarded a Bharat Ratna last week, had recommended a formula for MSPs which would result in higher rates being paid to farmers.

PM has no time for farmers: RJD

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, who was accompanying Mr. Gandhi, also slammed the Union government’s attitude toward farmers. “Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] has time to meet [actor] Priyanka Chopra, but he does not have time to meet our brother farmers. I don’t want to discuss the other issue he talks about, because Modi ji is a factory of lies but one thing is clear that RJD is standing with the demand of farmers on MSP,” Mr. Yadav said.

This was the first time that Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Yadav have shared the stage since their erstwhile ally, Janata Dal (United) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, snapped his ties with them to rejoin the BJP-led NDA. The Congress leader praised Mr. Yadav’s efforts against unemployment. “Tejashwi ji gave jobs to the people in Bihar and he tried to fill up vacant posts in the government. If the INDIA alliance is voted to power, all the vacant government vacancies will be filled up. We will not even leave one post vacant,” Mr. Gandhi said.

‘Will implement LARR’

The Congress leader also slammed the Narendra Modi-led government for not enforcing the land acquisition law enacted by the Congress in 2013, claiming that farmers were not receiving proper compensation for their lands.

“The farmers should have got a compensation of four times more from the market rate for their land, but the Modi government never enforced the Land Acquisition Act, and revoked what we had brought. It had a provision to return the unutilised acquired land within a period of five years, and said that land should not be taken without the consent of the farmers,” Mr. Gandhi said.

He promised that if INDIA (Indian National Development, Inclusive Alliance) came to power, the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013 would be implemented.

The Congress MP alleged that the country’s defense budget was being transferred to industrialists by the Modi government. “All contracts of the defense department, be it aircraft, drone, arms and ammunition, gunpowder and high-technology missiles, everywhere Adani is visible. Agniveer has been brought so that the defense budget should not go to defense and rather be transferred to Adani,” he said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.