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Rahul Gandhi Drives Tractor, Cong Agenda to Parl to Protest 'Black' Farm Laws, Seeks Repeal at the Earliest

Rahul Gandhi protests against farm laws.

Rahul Gandhi protests against farm laws.

The Opposition has been cornering the Centre on the contentious farm laws in Parliament, with the uproar often leading to washing out of proceedings in both Houses.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday drove a tractor to Parliament to register his solidarity with farmers protesting against the three farm laws and asked the government to repeal them at the earliest.

Dressed in a shirt and trousers with a face mask on, Gandhi said: “I’ve brought farmers’ message to Parliament. They (Government) are suppressing voices of farmers and not letting a discussion take place in Parliament. They’ll have to repeal these black laws. The entire country knows these laws favour 2-3 big businessmen.” “As per government, farmers are very happy and those (protesting farmers) sitting outside are terrorists. But in reality, farmers’ rights are being snatched away,” he added.

The Wayanad MP was seen entering the Parliament area through Vijay Chowk, flanked by other Congress MPs from Punjab and Haryana like Deepender Hooda, Ravneet Singh Bittu and Pratap Singh Bajwa.

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The Opposition has been cornering the Centre on the contentious farm laws in Parliament, with the uproar often leading to washing out of proceedings in both Houses.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting since November at Delhi’s borders, seeking repeal of the farm laws and a new law to guarantee minimum support price, or MSP, for crops.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has reiterated that farm laws are beneficial, adding they can be discussed “point-wise" if farmers express the issues. However, this has failed to resolve the deadlock, with protesting farmers seeking a repeal.

Amidst opposition parties led by the Akali Dal protesting inside and outside the Parliament against the three farm laws and advocating the cause of the farmer protests, the Centre has said no to any compensation for the families of farmers who died during the protests.

The Government of India in a written reply said it “has no such record” when asked if it was aware that a number of agitating farmers have died or fallen ill during the movement which has been on for months. It said there was no proposal hence for compensation too. “However, Government of India during discussions with farmers’ unions appealed to them that children and elders especially women should be allowed to go home in view of the cold and Covid situation,” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.

A central government official told News18 that since law and order and the police was a state subject, the Centre would not have a record of such deaths. The matter, however, has political overtones ahead of the Punjab elections. Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal on July 9 said over 550 farmers had died during the agitation and that if SAD comes to power, he will give government jobs to a family member of each such farmer, free education to their children and grandchildren till post-graduation and family health insurance cover.

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first published:July 26, 2021, 11:35 IST