Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has described the new farm laws as a dagger put through the hearts of farmers and said it was part of a deliberate plan that earlier saw the rolling out of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax, and which was aimed at striking at the farming community and the workers.
In an online interaction with farmers from across the country, snippets from which were aired on social media earlier and a longer version of which was made public on Tuesday, Gandhi attempted to place the contentious farm laws in the same category as demonetisation and a 'faulty' implementation of GST. The aim of these moves, he said, was to weaken the unorganised sector. “There is no difference between these laws and GST and demonetisation. The only difference is that this puts a dagger right through your hearts. Earlier, they aimed at your feet with axes, and now they have stabbed your hearts,” he said.
Gandhi also recalled his agitation in Bhatta-Parsaul in Uttar Pradesh against land acquisition and said it was a case of organised corporates wanting to grab the land of farmers. “My first fight was against land acquisition. And I was stubborn on not allowing dilution of the land acquisition laws. As a result of that, the entire media went against me.”
The aim of the interaction appeared to be to present the Modi government as uncaring about the concerns of the farmers and the workers and as favouring the interests of the corporate class. “The government did not put money into the hands of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The income of the rich went on increasing during COVID, but that of the poor dwindled further,” he said.
“The aim is to break the backbone of the country, which comprises the farmers and the workers, and to take away the assets of the country,” he said.
Gandhi said the new farm laws had to be opposed not just for the sake of the farmers, but to protect the future of the country. “They did not build this country. They were standing with the British. So they do not understand these things,” he said.
Gandhi even drew a parallel between the present situation and the freedom movement, saying it was because of the voice of the farmers that India became independent, and yet again, it will be through the voice of the farmers that India will become independent.
The former Congress chief had attracted criticism for his absence from the scene when the farm laws dominated the proceedings in Parliament in the recently concluded monsoon session and saw the Opposition going up in arms against the contentious legislations. His supporters, however, said it was not correct to criticise him as he was fulfilling a crucial family obligation—Gandhi was abroad accompanying his mother, Congress President Sonia Gandhi for her annual check-up. They said he was constantly engaged with the developments back home and that the party's initiatives against the legislations were in his direction.
It was also pointed out by Gandhi's supporters that he had an online interaction with farmers and not a physical one since he was under quarantine after his return from the trip abroad. It is learnt that Gandhi will soon be hitting the streets in Punjab to express solidarity with the farmers agitating against the farm laws. While there are plans of going to Haryana, too, it is feared that the BJP government there might not allow him to agitate there.