Taking on the Akalis over their treachery with Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said the people of the state would take care of these `gaddars’ but the real fight was with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government, which was out to destroy the farmers with their draconian Farm Laws.
Addressing a public rally in Jattpura (Raikot) at the culmination of the first day of Rahul Gandhi’s `Kheti Bachao Yatra’, the Chief Minister said his government was with the farmers and will take whatever steps needed against the anti-farmer laws and expose the Akali’s double standards, while the Congress will continue to fight the Modi government at the Centre.
“We will handle the Akalis here, but I urge Rahul to fight the central government and to scrap the new laws by becoming the Prime Minister,” said Captain Amarinder, hailing Rahul for standing with Punjab’s farmers in these tough times.
The Modi government does not know what agriculture is and they want to break the centuries-old relations between Arhtiyas and the farmers for the benefit of their capitalist friends, said the Chief Minister. Pointing out that 70% of the farmers own less than 5 acres land, with half of them possessing less than 2.5 acres, he said the those ruling at the Centre do not know anything about the problems of farmers, who have fed the nation for decades and ensured that India does not need to beg for food, as it did before the Green Revolution.
Taking a dig at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s claim of sacrificing for the farmers by quitting NDA, Captain Amarinder said the Akalis don’t know what sacrifice is. They did what they did only for political survival when faced with the farmers’ angst and resentment, said the Chief Minister, asserting that the Congress in Punjab will fight and expose the Akalis, whom the people of the state had rejected. He pointed out that Rahul had promised to scrap the black laws once the Congress is in power at the Centre and exuded the confidence that this will happen soon.
Rahul, in his address, lashed out at the Prime Minister for ruining farmers, labourers, small traders, SMEs etc under orders from the Adanis and Ambanis. The billionaire friends of Modi did not have to stand in queues at banks during demonetization, and even amid Covid, their taxes and loans have been waived off while the poor continue to suffer, he said, adding that the small trader still does not know what GST is all about.
The roads which the farmers use to take their produce to Mandis at present were not made by the Adanis and Ambanis but were constructed with the money collected as Mandi fee, Rahul pointed out, warning the farmers that with these new laws, the Mandis will be wiped out and there will be no roads left for them to go anywhere to sell their foodgrain. Citing the monumental sacrifices of Punjabis through the centuries, Rahul said the Modi government was trying to break Punjab’s backbone by destroying the farmers.
The Congress, he asserted, will not allow the BJP government at the Centre to destroy the system and demolish the structure that it had built over the year to support the farmers, the labourers and other poor people across the country. The farmers are neither weak nor afraid of the Modi government, said Rahul, adding that the Congress will fight shoulder to shoulder with the farming community to stop the centre from destroying agriculture.
At Jattpura, Rahul and Captain Amarinder were handed over resolutions passed against the black laws by Panchayats of all Raikot constituencies.
Earlier, travelling on tractors through Chakkar, Lakha and Manoke, Rahul and Captain Amarinder met the farmers and assured them of the full support of the Congress to their fight. As part of the `Kisan Bachao, Kheti Bachao’ rally, Captain Amarinder reiterated that his government will take whatever steps needed for protecting the farming community, including all legal options. The Union Government seems to have forgotten the sacrifice made by the soldiers of Punjab in the Galwan valley clash with the Chinese Army, he pointed out, adding that he will not let the sacrifices of Punjabis be wasted by the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi said the recent three farm laws were not the first anti people steps undertaken by the BJP led Government, which, through the Farm Laws, had brought the farming sector and the mandi system to the brink of disaster.
At Chakkar, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Bittu handed over ‘Punjab di Mitti’ (Punjab Soil) to Rahul Gandhi and urged him to save Punjab and save farmers from new anti-farmer laws being enforced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bittu said that Punjab is known as food bowl of the nation and at least 40-50 trains loaded with foodgrains are being sent daily across India so that no one starves.
As the tractor rally moved through various villages, it received a rousing reception from the people of the villages, especially women and youth. At some places, people raised placards with the slogans ‘Punjab de paanian da rakha Captain hun kisani da rakha banuga’.
In village Lopon, Rahul Gandhi was presented a ‘Siropa’ by ‘Sant Darbar Sampradaya Lopon’.
In Manuke, he walked around interacted with a maize cultivating farmers Bhupinder Singh Pappu and Ranjit Singh, who gifted ‘corn’ to him as a token of the farmers’ gratitude.
On behalf of Arhtiya Association, Vijay Kalra apprised Rahul Gandhi of the problems that the Arhityas would face due to the enactment of black laws, and the latter assured him that the Congress party would oppose the barbaric laws tooth and nail.
The cavalcade of tractors was led PPCC President Sunil Jakhar and Deepinder Hooda with Rahul Gandhi and Captain Amarinder Singh sitting on it. AlCC General Secretaries Harish Rawat and KC Venugopal, State Cabinets Ministers, MPs, MLAs followed on other tractors.