As the protesting farmer unions turned down the Centre's proposal of suspending the contentious farm laws for 18 months, the Congress on Thursday said this rejection of the government's "lollipop" by the farmers signals their "awakening". Stepping up his attack on the government over the farmers' issue, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, "Stop the daily 'jumlas' and atrocities, just simply repeal the anti-agriculture laws." Protesting farmer unions on Thursday rejected the government's proposal to suspend the three farm laws for 18 months and set up a joint committee to find an amicable solution to end the deadlock.
This was announced by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of unions leading protests at several Delhi border points. Reacting to the development, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Modi ji, the country's farmers are awakened. When will you wake up?" "The martyrdom of 147 'annadaatas' will not go in vain. The rejection of the government's lollipop by the farmer unions is the bugle of their awakening," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Don't say later that you were not told," Surjewala added. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the MSP system for their crops.
Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the "mandi" (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi attacked the government over the Kattupalli Barrier island port project in Tamil Nadu, alleging that the port on the island is illegal but the Modi government is ensuring its construction. "The handover of our country to his crony capitalist friends continues," he alleged.