Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Tuesday allowed to go on a tractor rally against the Centre’s farm laws from Punjab to Haryana, ANI reported. He was, however, briefly stopped at the Haryana border.
The Haryana government told Gandhi that it would only allow 100 people to enter the state, according to NDTV. Three tractors, including Gandhi’s, were allowed to pass. Several top Congress leaders travelling with Gandhi were left behind.
Gandhi had shared a video of the Congress cavalcade at Haryana’s border on Twitter and said that he would patiently wait for permission to proceed. “They have stopped us on a bridge on the Haryana border,” he wrote. “I’m not moving and am happy to wait here. 1 hours, 5 hours, 24 hours, 100 hours, 1000 hours or 5000 hours.”
The Congress leader added that he only wanted to move along peacefully, NDTV reported. “When they open the border, I will peacefully proceed,” he said. “Until then I will peacefully wait here.” The tractor rally was a part of the Congress’ “Kheti Bachao yatra” [save agriculture rally].
Earlier in the day, Gandhi held his third and last rally against the farm laws in Punjab’s Sangrur district. The Congress leader again criticised the Centre and said that the fight against the new laws was not just of the farmers or labourers but the entire country.
Gandhi said the news laws will end India’s food security, PTI reported. “And if that happens, the entire country will once again become slaves,” he said.
The Congress leader promised to roll back the laws if his party came to power. “When your [farmers’] land goes, they [the corporates] will build malls and flats,” Gandhi said. “We do not want such a thing to happen. The Congress will not allow this to happen. I can guarantee that we will not go back by an inch and we will carry on this fight. When our government will be formed, we will revoke these laws.”
Protests in Sirsa
The farmers in Haryana’s Sirsa district, meanwhile, came out on the streets in huge numbers to protest the agriculture laws, ANI reported. The police used water canons to disperse them.
Security arrangements were tightened outside the houses of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Singh Chautala and his grand uncle and Power Minister Ranjit Chautala as farmers planned to stage a demonstration there, the Hindustan Times reported.
The 24 farmer organisations, who took part in the protest, demanded that Dushyant Chautala and Ranjit Chautala resign from the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government.
In another video, the farmers were seen shouting slogans as the police set up barricades to restrain them.
The farm laws
The three ordinances – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – passed on June 5, were converted into law by the Parliament in the third week on September, amid vehement protests.
The legislations loosen regulations on the sale, pricing and storage of agricultural produce. They allow farmers to sell outside mandis notified by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee. They enable contract farming through deals with private sector companies. They take food items like cereals and pulses off the list of essential commodities, lifting stock limits on such produce.