Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Friday extended support to farmers protesting the three agriculture laws by driving a tractor in the state's Chhindwara district. Rajya Sabha MP and senior leader of the Congress Digvijay Singh also rode a tractor in Sehore as part of the protests.
The party had organised a nationwide agitation in a show of support for farmers camping in Delhi, whose demonstration entered its 51st day.
Labelling the new legislation as "agri-marketing" laws, Nath criticised the state and Central governments and said, "Most of the farmers in the country don't get minimum support price benefits. Once the three laws are implemented, possibilities for the farmers will end."
"Dozens of farmers have already lost their lives during the course of this protest. The Centre must shun its high-handedness and roll back the three draconian farm laws at the earliest," the former CM said.
Former ministers and MLAs of the Congress attended similar events across the state, the party's organisational in-charge Chandraprabhas Shekhar said. "The common man and farmers participated in the protests organised at more than 500 locations in MP," he added.
Former minister PC Sharma, district party president Kailash Mishra and others protested in the state capital of Bhopal and courted arrest. Explaining the future course of action, Sharma said that the Congress will continue its agitation on the issue and its leaders and workers will proceed towards New Delhi after holding a mahapanchayat in Morena on January 20. "On January 23, the party will gherao the Raj Bhawan in Bhopal," he said.
Police stopped Congress leaders and workers in Bhopal's Roshanpura following which a tussle ensued. Many were arrested for hindering road traffic. Party workers staged demonstrations in Jabalpur, Indore, Gwalior and other places.
Protests were held by Congress workers and leaders in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Several leaders of the state's Haryana unit including former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Randeep Singh Surjewala were detained. In UP, state Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu and several workers were allegedly taken into custody while trying to march towards the Raj Bhawan.
Rahul Gandhi led the party's protest in New Delhi. He was accompanied by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other leaders of the Delhi Congress outside the Delhi LG's residence.