Leaders of at least 12 Opposition parties, including former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on Friday attended the “Kisan Sansad” (farmers’ Parliament) at Jantar Mantar in the city to express their solidarity with protesting farmers, who are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws.
Organising themselves at Parliament House, Opposition leaders then moved to Jantar Mantar, the venue of the protests against the farm laws by a select few leaders of farmers’ organisations, who have been given permission by the Delhi Police to do so.
Since July 22, these farmer leaders have been protesting close to Parliament to mark over seven months of farmers’ protests at Delhi’s border points against the laws.
The leaders left Parliament at 12.30 p.m. in a bus to reach Jantar Mantar. However, none of the political leaders either gave a speech or sat on the dais; instead, they were part of the audience and listened to the leaders of farmers’ organisations.
“Today, all Opposition parties together decided to support farmers and demand the withdrawal of the three farm laws. We want to give our entire support to all the farmers of the country,” Mr. Gandhi told reporters.
“It will not work with a discussion on the farm laws. These black laws will have to be withdrawn,” he responded, when pointed out that the government was willing to talk with farmers over the provisions of the farm laws.
Alleging that the government was not allowing the Opposition to raise the Pegasus spyware snooping issue in Parliament, Mr. Gandhi said, “You know what is happening in Parliament. We want to discuss the Pegasus (snooping) issue and they are not allowing it to happen. [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi has got into every telephone.”
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among Opposition leaders who went to the protest site.
Mr. Kharge and several other Congress leaders, besides members from other Opposition parties, were present at the meeting at Parliament House.
Other leaders present at Jantar Mantar included Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut; Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Kumar Jha; Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Elamaram Kareem; Communist Party of India leader Binoy Viswam; Indian Union Muslim League leader Mohammed Bashir; and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Tiruchi Siva.
Members of the Aam Admi Party and Trinamool Congress were not present at the Kisan Sansad even though they had attended the Opposition’s joint strategy meeting in the morning.
The three farm laws were enacted in September 2020, following which farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi’s border points since November 2020.