A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted in Lok Sabha that he holds farmers agitation as 'sacred', Congress leader Rahul Gandhi responded on Thursday accusing the government of trying to destroy the agriculture sector through the three new farm laws.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, a visibly charged Rahul Gandhi referred to PM Modi's 'content and intent' remark, and said," Yesterday while addressing the House, PM said that the Opposition is talking about the agitation but not about the content and intent of Farm Laws. I thought I should make him happy today and speak on the content and intent of the laws."
The former Congress president then went on to trash the new farm laws, claiming that the legislations would destroy the mandi system in the country.
"The content of the first law is that one can have unlimited purchase of foodgrains, fruits and vegetables anywhere in the country. If the purchase is unlimited anywhere in the country, then who would go to Mandis? The content of the first law is to finish the mandis," Rahul Gandhi said.
"Prime minister has given us options of unemployment, hunger and suicide," the Congress leader said amid repeated objections by the treasury benches.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla interrupted Rahul Gandhi reminding him that the House was discussing the Budget. However, Gandhi insisted that he will speak only about the farm laws and farmers' issues.
"I will talk only about farm laws, not budget," he said.
Taking on the critics of the farm laws, PM Modi had said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday that they have been fuelling fear among farmers that it will lead to the weakening of the mandi system and MSP mechanism.
"After the laws were passed by Parliament, no mandi was shut. In fact more allocation has been made in the budget to modernise the farm mandis and boost the infrastructure. Likewise, MSP has remained. Procurement on MSP has remained.
These facts can't be ignored," he said.
Modi also hit out at opposition members who had asked why these Acts when they were not demanded by farmers, saying he was shocked at the argument and asserted that his government believes in continuously empowering people.