He also said that the talks that are being held with the protesting farmer leaders are part of the government’s delaying tactics.
Farmers will not relent till the laws are repealed, said Rahul Gandhi at Jantar Mantar, where he along with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joined party MPs in their demonstration against the legislations.
The former Congress president’s remarks come on a day when the government is meeting protesting farmer unions for the ninth time to break the over-a-month-long deadlock on the three new agri laws.
“The talks are being held only to delay. PM Modi thinks he has the power and will tire the farmers out, but he is mistaken,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters.
“Narendra Modi does not have basic respect for farmers. He does not even care if over 100 farmers die. He thinks he has the power and the protesting farmers will tire out after some days, but they will not relent,” he said.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi since November 28 against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Rahul Gandhi said this agitation has just started and the laws will have to be repealed.
“They (the government) do not know the strength of farmers, they will not relent. PM Modi does not understand this. Had he understood this, the government would have taken back the laws today itself,” he said at the Jantar Mantra where Congress MPs Ravneet Singh Bittu, Jasbir Singh Gill and some other legislators from Punjab have been staging the protest for over a month.
Asked about objections being raised over the proposed tractor rally by protesting farmers on Republic Day, he said, “If farmers want to come out and take out a tractor parade on Republic Day, what is the harm in it.”
“The prime minister misunderstands, he thinks this country is run by four to five industrialists, who control him,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding that the country is run by farmers, labourers and the youth.
He said if anyone “attacks” farmers, it is an attack on the country. The country”s farmers have maintained the country”s independence by ensuring food security and the day food security is lost, the country will lose its independence, Rahul Gandhi said.
“This is a financial issue, not a political issue. PM Modi wants to hand over everything that farmers have to his corporate friends,” the Congress leader alleged.
He also raised strong objections to protesting farmers being dubbed as “Khalistanis”.
Thousands of farmers have come out to protest against the farm laws and “you should not have dubbed them as ”Khalistanis””, Rahul Gandhi said.
Congress MP Bittu had earlier told reporters that it was Rahul Gandhi who had started the protests against the farm laws in Punjab and Haryana and had also undertook a tractor rally.
The Congress is demanding a repeal of the farm laws, alleging that they are against the interests of farmers and farming and are aimed at helping only the “corporate friends” of the BJP.
The three farm laws, enacted in September last year, have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.