Congress MPs protest inside Parliament complex, demand repeal of new agri laws

NEW DELHI: The Congress extended its support on Thursday to the farmers protesting against three agriculture laws of the Centre and its MPs staged a protest inside the Parliament complex demanding that the contentious legislations be withdrawn.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders participated in the protest.

Congress MPs from both houses gathered outside Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the Parliament complex and raised slogans against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Carrying placards and hoardings, they also raised slogans in support of the farmers and their demands.

“They are adamant on falsehood, injustice, arrogance. We are Satyagrahis, standing here fearless, united. Jai Kisan,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag “#FarmersParliament”.

He also posted a picture of the party MPs holding up a banner that said, “We demand repeal of anti-farmer laws.”

Congress MPs Deepender Singh Hooda and Partap Singh Bajwa also gave a notice of breach of privilege against the Delhi Police to the Rajya Sabha secretary general, alleging attempts by cops to obstruct them from briefing the media on farmers’ issues at Vijay Chowk.

Later, addressing the media, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said farmers have been protesting for 238 days since November 26 last year in favour of their demand that the farm laws be repealed, but the Centre is being adamant in not agreeing to their demand.

“Prime Minister Modi and (Agriculture Minister) Narendra Singh Tomar have been claiming that there are no shortcomings in the farm laws, but we are ready to point them out to the government and highlight them.

But they are not allowing a discussion in Parliament to enable us to point out the shortcomings.

“We will continue to support the farmers and fight for them till the end. The livelihood of 16 crore farmers, of whom 86 per cent are small and marginal, are threatened by the new farm laws,” he said.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the party MPs in both houses of Parliament are urging the chair to allow a discussion on the farmers’ issue and have given adjournment notices, but the same are not being accepted.

The government claims that it is ready to discuss anything, but when Congress MPs give notices for a discussion, the same are disallowed, he alleged.

“What kind of politics is being played by the BJP? They have cornered us from all sides. We are not shown on television inside the House, we are not allowed to speak inside Parliament,” Chowdhury said.

He said the protesting farmers have been dubbed as Pakistanis, terrorists and anti-nationals by the BJP-led government, but they are not going to budge.

“The three farm laws should be abolished. The government has committed all kinds of atrocities on farmers, but they are not afraid and will continue with their protests. This government is lying and that is why it is not allowing a discussion in Parliament. The Congress will continue to support the farmers till the farm laws are repealed,” he added.

Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted in Hindi with a prayer that good sense prevails upon the government and it repeals the farm laws.

“We pray to god that good sense prevails upon the Modi government in Parliament and it should shun arrogance. Repeal all the three ‘black laws’ against agriculture,” he said.

The Congress has been demanding a repeal of the three laws, which are being opposed by farmers, according to whom these legislations will end the “mandi” (wholesale market) and MSP procurement systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.

The government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced.