Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today dismissed the anti-farm law protests led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying his party just has "10% strength in Lok Sabha". He added that the MP - who has led the Opposition parties in their criticism of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government - had "scant respect for the law".
To drive home his point, Mr Puri gave the example of how in 2013 Mr Gandhi, then the party Vice-President, had torn up a paper to dismiss an ordinance passed by the Manmohan Singh government and embarrassed his own party. The ordinance sought to protect convicted lawmakers from disqualification.
"Now he threatens to scrap Farm Bills (now laws) passed in the parliament. These bills also included in Congress manifesto. Will he first throw his manifesto into the dustbin?" Mr Puri questioned.
Scant respect for law.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) October 6, 2020
Rahul Gandhi tore an ordinance passed by MMS govt in 2013. Now he threatens to scrap #FarmBills passed in Parliament.
These bills also included in Congress manifesto. Will he first throw his manifesto into dustbin?
All this with just 10% strength in LS!
The Congress manifesto for the national election last year had listed the scrapping of the Agricultural Market Produce Committees (AMPC) Act. The BJP has claimed that one of the recently passed farm laws includes what the Congress had promised.
However, veteran Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had recently hit out at BJP accusing them of "maliciously" distorting the party's 2019 manifesto, stating that their proposal was not even close to what the Congress had proposed.
"Farmers need multiple (easily) accessible markets and choices. The Congress's proposals would have given them that," Mr Chidambaram said. He added that his party's manifesto also promised to enable farmers access technology and set up adequate infrastructure in large villages and small towns to help them trade freely.
Mr Chidambaram tweeted asking if the BJP had created this infrastructure before changing the laws.
Mr Puri had taken a swipe at Rahul Gandhi even yesterday. He had pointed out in a tweet that during his tractor protest, the Congress leader appeared to be sitting on cushioned seats.
The government has claimed the new laws - passed last month amid protests in the parliament - will help farmers by allowing them to sell their produce at markets and prices of their choice.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made several verbal assurances that neither the MSP nor government procurement will be stopped, but the farmers remain unconvinced.
But the opposition says the laws will leave the farmers open to exploitation by corporates and will deprive them of a fair price for their produce.