Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has lashed out at the Modi government over the three farm laws. Priyanka accused the government of 'insulting' the tillers as the Congress leader said that she will stand in support of the farmers "even if it takes 100 months".
"The farmers have been struggling for 100 days. More than 200 farmers have been martyred. It was the responsibility of the government to go to the farmers and talk to them," she said in a tweet in Hindi and shared pictures of her addressing a large gathering at the 'kisan panchayat' in Meerut on Sunday. "The BJP government made fun of the martyrdom of the farmers, insulted the farmers," she alleged.
Addressing the Kisan mahapanchayat, she said: "This is Meerut, the place from where the first revolt of the freedom struggle started. From here our fight for freedom started. Who was involved in that freedom struggle? Who got our nation freed? The farmers of this country did."
Priyanka, who is Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, has been holding 'kisan panchayats' in western parts of the state recently and has been attacking the government over a range of issues from farm laws to rise in price of cooking gas, petrol and diesel.
She then urged people to stand with the farmers' struggle and to take the movement to the villages. "I promise you, let alone 100 days, even if it takes 100 months, I will stand in support of the farmers," she said.
Priyanka said that the BJP government is also exploiting the farmers and the three farm laws will hurt the income of farmers.
Priyanka also explained the three laws. She said, "You better know what these three laws are. One law permits hoarding by big industrialists and billionaires. They can deposit as much quantity, for as much time, and for as much price-- everything is decided by them. This is the first law."
"The second law is also interesting," she said, adding that "they (government) have said that private mandis can be opened where no tax shall be charged and tax shall be levied in government mandis. Overall if we see, it seems that the opening of private mandis is good and shall facilitate the farmers. But in reality, if tax is charged in government mandis and the same is not charged in private mandis, then slowly and gradually all the farmers will start going to private mandis. This means, slowly all the government mandis will shut down. But, there is a difference of MSP between private mandis and government mandis".
In government mandis, it is fixed that farmers get minimum support price, but this is not the case with private ones, she said. "After some time there will be private mandis all over, government mandis will shut down and you (farmers) will stop getting MSP."
"Now let me tell you about the third law. It is written in the third law that if a billionaire wants to enter into a deal with you (farmers) then he has permission to do so," the Congress leader added.
"Suppose the billionaire goes to a village and tells 10 farmers to grow sugarcane for him at the rate of 500 per quintal. Now the farmers agree to the deal, put in all their efforts, grow sugarcane and then take it to the billionaire and tell him to buy them as per the deal. Now this law states that if that billionaire after entering the deal refuses to take the farmers' produce and tells the farmers to sell their produce at Rs 150 per quintal instead of 500, then he is permitted to do that because according to the law, if any farmer disagrees with the deal or the farmer is not treated as per the deal and does not get the price as per the agreement, then no farmer can approach any court," she said.
Earlier on Saturday, as the farmers' protest completed 100 days, the Congress party said that the period was a "black chapter" in India's democracy.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Delhi's borders for over three months demanding rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Farmers are opposing the laws, terming them against their interest as it will dismantle the mandi system and the MSP structure. Besides, they believe that the laws will give power to corporates over their lands.
However, the three laws -- enacted in September 2020, have been projected by the Central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country. The government has repeatedly assured the farmers that these three laws will not do away with MSP and mandis.