Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in an open letter to farmers on Friday, congratulated them on the “historic victory” in the agitation against the farm laws, but said that the struggle was not yet over.

Gandhi wrote the letter on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Union government will repeal the three contentious laws that had been the focus of widespread protests for nearly a year.

The Congress leader said that the farmers know what is beneficial and what is harmful for them. “The government must not dare again to play into the hands of a few capitalists and make farmers slaves on their own lands,” he said.

Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should rather work towards fulfilling his promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, and prepare a roadmap for it.

He said that several demands are yet to be met, including a beneficial minimum support price, the repeal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, reduction of taxes on farm inputs, reduction of diesel price rise and relief from debt for farm labourers.

“I assure you that I and each Congress worker will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you and amplify your voices in all your legitimate struggles in future, just like the present agitation,” Gandhi said.

The Congress leader said he bows to “more than 700 farmer brothers and sisters who sacrificed their lives” during the agitation. “This situation would not have arisen had the Centre paid attention to farmers’ demands from the very beginning,” he said.

However, Gandhi said the farmers’ protest is a “unique example of how you [farmers] fought against a dictatorial ruler and forced him to take back his decision”.

Modi announces repeal of farm laws

On Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Union government will repeal the three new farm laws in the Winter Session of Parliament.

The announcement came ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh scheduled for early next year. Farmers from the two states have been at the forefront of the agitation.

The protesting farmers had expressed fears that the central government’s new laws would make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.

The Centre, however, had claimed that the laws would give farmers more access to markets and boost production through private investment.

Responding to Modi’s announcement on Friday morning, Gandhi had said that the country’s farmers “made arrogance bow its head through their satyagraha [peaceful protest]”.