Opposition, Nitish’s party stand with farmers; slam Modi Government

Opposition party leaders rounded on the Narendra Modi Government after police used water cannons and tear gas to prevent farmers entering Delhi to protest for their demands on Gandhi Jayanti

NH Photo by Vipin
NH Photo by Vipin

NH Web Desk

Leaders of Opposition parties have reacted angrily after police used force to prevent farmers from entering the capital city of Delhi on October 2, the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahasur Shastri, both champions of farmers. The farmers, who have undertaken a long march starting on September 22 at Haridwar in Uttarakhand, had covered the 200-km long journey without even causing disturbance to traffic on the Delhi-Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway en route. The farmers, who are unhappy with the policies of the Narendra Modi Government, were marching under the umbrella of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the largest organisation of farmers in Uttar Pradesh.

The march, christened as ‘Kisan Kranti Yatra’, saw participation of farmers from all across the country, but particularly from Uttar Pradesh, where farmers have been raising several long-standing demands, including unconditional loan waiver, clearing of dues by sugar mills, higher prices for crops, free electricity for farms and a cut in diesel prices. The farmers wanted to raise the issues in Delhi on Gandhi Jayanti, but the police was determined to prevent them from entering the capital, and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the farmers.

Opposition leaders slammed the Narendra Government, pointing out the irony of police action against farmers coming on the birth anniversaries of Gandhi and Shastri, who championed the cause of farmers. Here are the comments by Opposition leaders and parties:

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

The BJP's two-year Gandhi Jayanti celebrations began with the brutal beating of farmers coming to Delhi on the International Day of Non-Violence Day. Now, the country’s farmers cannot even speak about their pain in the capital!

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury

“Violence by security forces is unacceptable. The only way to save the farmers is to remove the government in power. Narendra Modi government is anti-farmer."

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav

“This (the BJP-led) government has not fulfilled the promises it made to farmers, so it is all but natural that farmers would protest. It is unfortunate and we fully support the farmers. The government is not able to give MSP on any crop. In the past four years, more than 50,000 farmers have committed suicide and most of them have been in in BJP-ruled states.”

Rashtriya Lok Dal president Chaudhary Ajit Singh

“There was no need to stop the farmers. Everyone has the right to raise their issues in a democracy. There was no violence earlier though farmers came here all the way from Haridwar. If the farmer wants to say something, then it should be heard."

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

"It is everyone's Delhi, why are the farmers being stopped from entering? They should be allowed, this is wrong."

Congress spokeperson Randeep Surjewala

“Don’t farmers have the right to tell the Centre that they are pushing them towards suicide and instead of listening, this government is doing ‘lathi charge’ on them. The country can see the pain of farmers, and it will vote against the Narendra Modi Govt and throw them out.”

Janata Dal (United) spokeperson KC Tyagi

“Peaceful and unarmed farmers going towards Rajghat were brutally treated, they were lathi charged and teargas shells fired on them. We condemn this.”

Raju Shetty, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana

“Farmers aren't terrorists or naxals, they're coming with demands. Don't they have right to do that? Shivraj Singh Chouhan govt killed farmers in Mandsaur, today they're about to lose Madhya Pradesh. Warning Modi ji if injustice with farmers continue, he'll lose Delhi.”

*Developing story; will be updated

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