For the last six years, we have been constantly watching Rahul Gandhi alleging that PM Modi was working at the behest of industrialists like Ambani and Adani, but what about the 10 years of UPA rule prior to that? At that time, every Congress leader, including Rahul, was speaking in favour of private and foreign investment in the farming sector.
Even as the world is grappling with new deadly variants of Coronavirus by clamping travel restrictions, a section of Indian Muslims led by some clerics is raising the bogey of the Covid-19 vaccines being ‘anti-Islamic’ because of reported use of pork gelatin.
The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration called the Gupkar Alliance consisting of seven parties including Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party, gained a significant lead in the valley, with a large number of independents holding the key to the councils.
It is really tragic that even before the Covid vaccine has been introduced on a massive scale, fresh trouble has erupted with the emergence of the new variant of Coronavirus, throwing all schedules in disarray. Sitting in India, it is difficult to gauge the level of gloom and despair that has descended on families in the UK and Europe, who had been waiting for months to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
In his direct address to the farmers of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday appealed to them “with bowed head and folded hands” to rejoin the dialogue with the Centre on issues relating to the three new agrarian laws.
At a time when people in the National Capital Region are shivering in winter, with a minimum temperature of 3.5 degree Celsius, and with cold, icy winds blowing across Delhi, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and UP are staying in the open as the dharna entered the 23rd day.
At a time when the Supreme Court has intervened to set up a committee of all stakeholders to break the ongoing deadlock between the farmers and the Centre, rumour mills are working overtime to incite the agitators by spreading false news and videos.
Modi said, those in the opposition who are misleading the farmers today, were trying to push these same reforms when they were in power, but they could not take a decision. Today, when the country has decided to take a historic step, they are misleading the farmers, he added.
On Monday, the agitating farmers observed a day’s fast. They have been carrying on their agitation peacefully, but elements owing allegiance to the Left are trying to inject hatred and violence.
In a nutshell, most of the farmer leaders from Punjab owe their allegiance to Left Parties, both moderate and extremist. There was a period in Punjab politics, when Communist leaders, including Harkishen Singh Surjit, used to hold sway over farmers’ outfits.
On Thursday, when I initially saw the video I could not believe my eyes. How could women farmers, most of them illiterate, hold placards carrying pictures of these ‘tukde-tukde’ gang activists?
Talks between the farmer leaders and the Centre broke down on Wednesday, when farmer unions rejected the government’s offer to amend the new farm laws and announced they would intensify their agitation. I was a bit surprised and sad, too. The government sincerely wanted a solution to the standoff, but the farmer leaders stuck to their ‘yes or no’ stand.
In a late evening four-hour-long meeting between Home Minister Amit Shah, three other central ministers and some selected farmer leaders in the National Agricultural Science Complex in Pusa, New Delhi, the farmer leaders insisted on the repeal of the three new farm laws.
Almost the entire opposition is presently engaged in politics over the issue of new farm laws being opposed by farmers’ unions of Punjab, Haryana and western UP. Most of the opposition parties like the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Left Parties, supported Tuesday’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by farmers’ unions demanding repeal of the new laws.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s tally declined from 99 last time to 55, with the BJP making big inroads into TRS territory. This is the second state in the South, after Karnataka, where the BJP has extended its base with an eye on 2023 Telangana assembly polls.
At Thursday’s meeting, the farmer leaders had given to the government their objections running into 12 pages, and almost all the points were taken up for discussion.
The people of India have utmost respect for the hardworking farmers and nobody likes them sitting indefinitely on the highways. Thousands of office going commuters faced ordeal this week as the arterial roads remained choked.
The farmers are insisting that the government must incorporate in its new laws that MSPs will not be abolished, and that purchase of crops at price lesser than the MSP will legally be a crime.
With more than 50,000 farmers assembled at the Haryana-Delhi border, and many more farmers on their way from Punjab, UP and Haryana to the national capital, the situation has now become tense.
Water cannons, tear gas were used to stop farmers at the Haryana-Punjab border near Ambala, but the protesters removed iron barricades, cement barriers, piles of sandbags and even deflated tyres of trucks lined up to stop the protesters marching towards Delhi.