Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on Friday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of misleading farmers, saying some politicians have been demanding the repeal of the new laws even though they know nothing about them, reported ANI.
“People from political parties have nothing to do with these laws, those who are demanding the withdrawal of the laws from Rahul Gandhi to the rest, know nothing about them,” Tomar told reporters in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district on the sidelines of a two-day training program organised for Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs. “I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that those who do dynasty politics do not have the right to comment on others.”
The agriculture minister claimed that even the Congress does not take Rahul Gandhi’s statements seriously. “What worries me is the three-fold pace with which the Congress is tumbling under his leadership which is weakening the Opposition,” Tomar added. “A weak Opposition is not good for democracy.”
As for the protesting farmers, Tomar said the Narendra Modi government is holding discussions with their leaders to reach a solution to the months-long deadlock. “We have given them the best proposal,” the minister added. “When they convey their opinion, then we will carry forward the discussion.” Till now, none of the discussions held between the farmer leaders and the government officials have managed to end the impasse.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s rebuke came after Gandhi, at a farmers’ mahapanchayat organised by the Congress in Rajasthan on Friday, said the farm laws were the biggest blow to the country after policies like demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax. He said that even though the reforms will impact 40% of Indians, Prime Minister Modi was only concerned about clearing the path for his corporate allies.
The Congress leader said that just as farmers fear the implementation of the new laws will lead to the shutting down of government mandis and big businessmen monopolising the purchase of farm produce. He predicted there will also be hoarding of agricultural produce.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s border points for over two months, seeking the withdrawal of agricultural laws passed in September. The protests had largely been peaceful but violence erupted on January 26, when a tractor rally planned to coincide with Republic Day celebrations turned chaotic. More than 100 protestors have been arrested in connection with the violence and several are missing.
The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate agricultural. The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The laws are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.