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Farm laws a ploy to break India’s backbone: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a farmers’ rally in Ajmer district on February 13, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said the enactment of the agriculture sector laws by the Centre amounted to a ploy to break the country’s backbone and give the control over farming to corporates. The process began with demonetisation, after which the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was brought in an arbitrary manner, he said.

Mr. Gandhi continued with his offensive against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre on the last day of his two-day visit to Rajasthan. He addressed a “tractor sabha” in Ajmer district’s Roopangarh village and a Kisan Mahapanchayat at Makrana in the Jat-dominated Nagaur district.

While accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to hand over the entire agriculture business to his “two friends”, Mr. Gandhi said 40% of the country’s population had a stake in farming, which generated employment for farmers, labourers, traders, street vendors and small businessmen and shopkeepers.

“Modi-ji said in the Parliament that he was giving options to farmers through new laws. In reality, these options are hunger, unemployment and suicide,” Mr. Gandhi said. A few big enterprises would hoard food grains, fruits and vegetables to expand their business and control 80% to 90% of the agriculture business, he said.

The former Congress president said the future of youth would be finished with the implementation of farm statutes, and the path to monopolistic practices would be cleared for a select group of businessmen. “It is not just the issue of agriculturists... the entire middle class will be affected and its livelihood snatched away,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi, wearing a colourful Rajasthani turban, reached the venue at Roopangarh by driving a tractor. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra were sitting on either side. As he addressed the sabha from a platform made of tractor trolleys, farmers sitting on tractors around him listened with rapt attention.

Mr. Gandhi rode on a camel cart before leaving for “Kisan Mahapanchayat” organised by the ruling Congress in Makrana. He also offered supplications at a temple dedicated to folk deity Veer Tejaji in Ajmer’s Sursura village after arriving at the nearby Kishangarh airport.

The Wayanad MP said he wanted to offer condolences in the Parliament to the farmers who had died during the agitation near the Delhi borders, but no BJP MP was willing to join him. As the Lok Sabha Speaker had told him to inform about it in writing, Mr. Gandhi said he would do so, while exposing the way the BJP had insulted the farmers.

All India Congress Committee general secretaries Ajay Maken and K.C. Venugopal, and former deputy CM Sachin Pilot, accompanied Mr. Gandhi during his visit to the two districts. The venues in the farmer-dominated region were chosen apparently because of their central location that allowed the cultivators from the nearby districts to assemble.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 9:43:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/farm-laws-a-ploy-to-break-indias-backbone-rahul-gandhi/article33831494.ece

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