A day after the farmers' protest against the new farm laws entered its 100th day, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today told the farmers not to lose hope and assured that her party will continue to support their fight even if "it takes 100 weeks or 100 months."
"Do not lose hope, it has been 100 days. Even if it takes 100 weeks or 100 months, we will continue this fight with you till this government takes back its black laws."
Addressing a Kisan mahapanchayat in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, today, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said: "This is Meerut, the place from where the first revolt of the freedom struggle started. From here our fight for freedom started. Who was involved in that freedom struggle? Who got our nation freed? The farmers of this country did."
"That time thousands of farmers participated in the movement. Many got martyred and they fought with a lot of courage. What was the fight for? The British administration was exploiting the farmers. 'Lagaan' was collected for the British company and the farmers were not able to get their hard-earned money," said the Congress leader.
Attacking the three new farm laws, she said: "In a similar manner, the BJP government is also exploiting the farmers. It has bought three such laws that will not let you (farmers) get your income. You better know what these three laws are. One law permits hoarding by big industrialists and billionaires. They can deposit as much quantity, for as much time, and for as much price-- everything is decided by them. This is the first law."
The second law is also interesting, Ms Gandhi said.
"They have said that private mandis can be opened where no tax shall be charged and tax shall be levied in government mandis. Overall if we see, it seems that the opening of private mandis is good and shall facilitate the farmers. But in reality, if tax is charged in government mandis and the same is not charged in private mandis, then slowly and gradually all the farmers will start going to private mandis. This means, slowly all the government mandis will shut down. But, there is a difference of MSP between private mandis and government mandis," she added.
In government mandis, it is fixed that farmers get minimum support price, but this is not the case with private ones, Ms Gandhi said. "After some time there will be private mandis all over, government mandis will shut down and you (farmers) will stop getting MSP."
"Now let me tell you about the third law. It is written in the third law that if a billionaire wants to enter into a deal with you (farmers) then he has permission to do so," the Congress leader added.
Further elaborating by giving an example, Priyanka Gandhi said: "Suppose the billionaire goes to a village and tells 10 farmers to grow sugarcane for him at the rate of 500 per quintal. Now the farmers agree to the deal, put in all their efforts, grow sugarcane and then take it to the billionaire and tell him to buy them as per the deal."
"Now this law states that if that billionaire after entering the deal refuses to take the farmers' produce and tells the farmers to sell their produce at Rs 150 per quintal instead of 500, then he is permitted to do that because according to the law, if any farmer disagrees with the deal or the farmer is not treated as per the deal and does not get the price as per the agreement, then no farmer can approach any court," said Ms Gandhi.
The farmers' protest against the Central government's three new farm laws entered its 100th day on Saturday. The protesting farmer unions observed March 6 as 'Black Day'.
The farmers blocked Western Peripheral Expressway in Kundli, Sonipat following their announcement of blocking the Expressway on Saturday for five hours from 11 am-4 pm.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.