Farm laws repeal: Sonia Gandhi hopes Modi govt draws lesson for future, Rahul says arrogance has no place in democracy

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the government has decided to withdraw the farm laws sensing defeat in the upcoming assembly polls and asked why it is waiting till commencement of the Winter Session to repeal the laws.

As the Narendra Modi government backed down and announced repeal of the three contentious farm laws, the main opposition Congress today called it a victory for the farmers. Party president Sonia Gandhi said she hopes the government has drawn some lessons for the future that any decision in a democracy should be taken after discussions with all including the opposition and with agreement of stakeholders.

The Congress also hit out at the Prime Minister asking him to apologise to the farming community and to the families of more than 700 farmers who had lost their lives during the protest. Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote an open letter to the farmers congratulating them for the way they “fought the arrogance of a dictatorial leader in a Gandhian way and forced him to take back his decision.” It is an unmatched example of victory of truth over falsehood, he said.

Some of the leaders argued the decision to repeal the farm laws was taken by the Government fearing setbacks in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

In a statement, Sonia said the repeal of the farm laws was a victory of truth, justice and non-violence. “The conspiracy which was hatched by those in power against the farmers and workers was defeated today and so was the arrogance of dictatorial rulers,” Sonia said. “In democracy, decisions should be taken after discussions with all, with the agreement of those impacted and taking the opinion of the opposition. I hope the Modi government has at least drawn some lessons for the future,” Sonia said.

“I hope the Prime Minister and the BJP government will leave their stubbornness and arrogance and will focus on implementing policies for farmers’ welfare, will ensure MSP for them and will evolve a consensus with state governments, farmer organizations and opposition parties before taking any such step in the future,” she added.

Rahul told farmers that the struggle is not over as he said the issues like providing remunerative MSP for farmers, scrapping of the controversial Electricity (Amendment) Bill, removal of tax on agricultural implements, rolling back the hike in prices of diesel and giving relief to farmers and agricultural workers from back-breaking debt are still to be resolved.

“I want to tell the Prime Minister that farmers know what is good and bad for them. Playing in the hands of some capitalists, do not indulge in a conspiracy again to enslave farmers in their own agricultural land and then embark on a misadventure to justify that…rather the Prime Minister should according to his promise take steps to ensure that the income of farmers is doubled by 2022,” Rahul said.

AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the Central government has decided to withdraw the farm laws sensing defeat in the upcoming assembly polls and asked why it is waiting till the commencement of the Winter Session to repeal the laws.

“The government brings ordinances for different small issues, why not for this? Is there any plan to do it with fanfare when the elections draw closer? Why are they not doing it now?” she asked.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Prime Minister’s “announcement on the withdrawal of the three farm laws is not inspired by a change of policy or a change of heart. It is impelled by fear of elections!”

He then added: “If there is fear of losing the next election, the PM will: Admit that demonetisation was a Himalayan blunder, admit that the GST laws were poorly drafted and implemented in a hostile manner, admit that Chinese troops have intruded into Indian territory and occupied our land, admit that the CAA is a patently discriminatory law, admit that the Rafale deal was dishonest and requires to be investigated, admit that the acquisition and use of Pegasus spyware were illegal.”

Addressing a press conference, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala asked the Prime Minister to apologise to the farmers for the “pain” inflicted on them.

The Congress also posed five questions to the government.

“What is the roadmap for providing a minimum support price to farmers? What is the roadmap for doubling the income of farmers? What is the time limit for rolling back the hike in excise duty of diesel which is hitting the farmers hard? When will the government take back GST imposed on farm implements including fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and tractors and what is your plan of action on farm loan waiver?” Surjewala asked.

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