Congress holds massive protests across Haryana and Punjab against Farm Bills

Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja led a protest in Jind, while ex-CM BS Hooda addressed protesters in Sonipat. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar led the agitation at Fatehgarh Sahib’s Bassi Pathana

Congress holds massive protests across Haryana and Punjab against Farm Bills

Bipin Bhardwaj

Up in arms against the three agricultural Bills, Congress held protests across Punjab and Haryana on Monday describing them as "black laws". The party leadership also alleged that the proposed legislations would ruin the farming community.

Raising their voices against the NDA government and expressing solidarity with the farmers, Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja led a protest in Jind, while former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda addressed protesters in Sonipat. Similarly, senior leaders Ajay Singh Yadav and Kuldeep Bishnoi joined the protests in Rewari and Hisar districts, respectively.

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar led the agitation at Bassi Pathana in Fatehgarh Sahib and slammed the NDA government. Shouting slogans against the BJP-led Union government for bringing the anti-farmers Bills, the Haryana protesters claimed that the BJP-JJP government in Haryana was silent and not raising its voice for farmers.

The party workers also submitted a memorandum addressed to the President through Deputy Commissioners at every district headquarter.

According to PTI reports, Hooda said the Congress has sought a special session of the Haryana Assembly to discuss the impact and ramifications of the farm Bills. He said the party will also move a resolution against these Bills. While addressing protesting farmers in Jind, Kumari Selja said the anti-farmer move of the Union government will destroy the peasants. "BJP is pro-capitalists; it does not understand the pain of the poor and the farmers. They hurriedly pushed through these Bills in Parliament. They even did not care to listen to the suggestion of the Opposition members that the Bills should be referred to select committee, which could have then taken feedback from farmers, farm-labourers and arhitiyas (commission agents),” Selja said.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Selja said "They accuse the Congress and Opposition parties of misleading the farmers whereas the entire country can see the pain of farmers. "When Congress-led UPA was in power, we used to listen to the voice of farmers, we understood their pain. For us, the rights of farmers, poor, weaker sections were above all. But now, interests of only big corporates are being watched,” she said while addressing the gathering in Jind.

She alleged that under the present system, big companies will exploit the farmers. Also, she added, in case of any dispute, can ordinary farmers take on big corporate houses; how will a small farmer fight the legal battle? She said the Congress-led government in neighbouring Punjab raised its voice against these Bills but the BJP-JJP coalition in Haryana is silent. "The state government has adopted silence. They are not raising

voice in favour of farmers," she said. Meanwhile, Congress workers raised slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre for bringing the “anti-farmer” Bills and also burnt effigies of the Union government.

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar said, "These Bills will ruin farmers,” and promised that his party would take every step possible to protect the interests of the farming community.

Jakhar also hit out at Punjab's Opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal, (SAD) saying it took a “U-turn” over the issue of the farm Bills after sensing there was anger among farmers against the proposed legislations.

“Earlier, they were trying to mislead farmers by saying that these Bills were in their interest,” he said. Jakhar also said he was happy that all farmer outfits have joined hands to oppose these Bills.

Farmers' outfits have given a call for 'Punjab Bandh' on September 25 in protest against these Bills.

On Sunday, Rajya Sabha passed the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

The Bills were passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday. A third Bill is yet to be passed in Rajya Sabha.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday had said that his government would take the BJP and its allies, including the Akalis, to

court over the new “unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-farmer” laws of the Central government.

SAD chief Sukhbir Badal had urged the President not to sign the farm Bills and also requested him that they be returned to Parliament for reconsideration.

The protesting farmers in some states including Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against these three Bills. They have expressed apprehension that the three Bills would pave the way for dismantling the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.

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