Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to lead a protest in Punjab this week in support of farmers agitating against the government over three farm laws passed by Parliament last week, people familiar with the development said.
Gandhi is also expected to address a rally, the date and venue of which is being finalised, a Congress leader said.
“After Punjab, he may join the protesting farmers in Haryana. But we are not sure if the BJP government in Haryana will allow him to enter the state,” said the leader quoted above.
The protest rally is part of the Congress party’s ongoing two-month-long nationwide agitation programme against the government over the three farm laws.
The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 were cleared by both the Houses of Parliament last week, triggering widespread protests, especially in Punjab and Haryana.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to the three contentious bills, despite the Opposition urging him to return them and only sign once they were passed after proper rules and procedures were followed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the laws a “watershed moment” in the history of Indian agriculture, which will empower millions of farmers.
In his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast on Sunday, he said a large number of farmers have benefited since fruits and vegetables were brought out of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) Act in some states a few years ago, and asserted that grain-producing peasants will now have the same freedom.