Congress president Sonia Gandhi batted for protesting farmers on Sunday (January 3) as she urged the Modi government to heed to the agitators’ demand and repeal the three contentious agricultural laws.
Sonia Gandhi’s statement came a day after a farmer at the UP-Delhi border allegedly committed suicide, demanding repeal of the three laws.
“In this biting cold and rain, our farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi for 39 days now. Their plight is concern for all the citizens and I,” Gandhi said in a video message.
The party president blamed “government’s harsh attitude towards the protests” as the reason for the death of more than 50 farmers so far. “Some have even committed suicide. Neither has their decision moved the Modi government or any of its ministers, nor have they uttered a word of consolation. I offer my tribute to those who have passed away and prayers and strength to their families,” Gandhi further said.
There is still time, Gandhi said, asking the government to “leave the arrogance of power” and immediately withdraw the three black laws unconditionally. “This is Rajdharma and a true tribute to the farmers who have lost their lives. The Modi government should remember that democracy means protecting the interests of the people and farmers-workers,” she said.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting places around Delhi for more than a month now.
The Centre has projected the laws as a “major agriculture reform” introduced with an aim to liberate farmers from the clutches of middle men and increase their incomes. However, protesting farmers are scared of the new legislations, which they think will leave them dependent on corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.
After the sixth round of talks recently, the government and farmer unions reached a consensus on the issues of power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the farmers’ main demand of repealing of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) remain to be sorted out.
“It is evident that the government is practising a policy of “tire them and drive them away”. But our farmers will not bend before them. The government must let of its ego and repeal the three farm laws and bring an end to the protests. The true meaning of democracy is protecting the interests of the farmers and workers, the Modi government should learn that,” Gandhi said.