Attacking the Centre over the new farm laws, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday told a rally in western Uttar Pradesh that if voted to power her party would scrap them.
At a 'kisan panchayat' organised by the party in Saharanpur, the Congress general secretary accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders of 'insulting' farmers who are protesting against the laws.
'The three laws are demonic. If voted to power, the Congress will scrap these laws,' she said.
She said the party's fight will continue till the laws are scrapped.
The rally is the first in a series of such farmers' meetings planned by the Congress in western Uttar Pradesh, a year before the assembly elections in the state where the opposition party is struggling to revive itself.
The Congress leader was presented with a pair of ploughs at the meeting.
'These three laws were drafted in such a way that government `mandis’ will eventually close down, the farmers will not get the MSP (minimum support price) and there will be hoarding,” she said.
“In other words, the farmers’ voice will become weak and the voice of billionaires will grow stronger,' she said.
Earlier, she tweeted in Hindi, 'To listen to the farmers’ 'dil ki baat', understand them, share my feelings with them and support their struggle, I will be in Saharanpur today. The BJP government will have to withdraw the black farm laws.' When asked to comment on the Congress event, UP minister Anand Swarup Shukla said a 'drama” is being enacted in the name of farmers.
He claimed that “gangs” opposing the government have gone international, and referred to tweets on the farmers’ protest by foreign celebrities.
He asked Congress leaders to “oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but not the country'.
Law Minister Brijesh Pathak said the BJP government was committed to help farmers and termed Priyanka Gandhi’s tour an 'eyewash'. 'Some leaders just want to be in the limelight,' he added.
The Congress general secretary visited the Shakumbhari temple in Saharanpur and offered prayers for farmers, the UP Congress said in a tweet.
She also visited Raipur Khanqah Dargah, the party said.
UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and senior party leader P L Punia attended the ‘panchayat’.
Opposition parties including the Congress are supporting farmers camping on the borders of Delhi for weeks, demanding the repeal of the agri-marketing laws enacted last September.
Most of the protesters are from Punjab and Haryana, but there is sizeable number from western Uttar Pradesh with Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait assuming a lead role in the agitation.
Recently, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary also addressed farmers' mahapanchayats in western UP.
Farmer unions say the laws will weaken the MSP system. But the government says they offer more options to farmers to sell their crops, and will help raise their incomes.
PTI NAV ABN ASH ASH