New Delhi, December 12
The Congress on Saturday accused the Modi government of branding every person opposing it a “Maoist” and an “anti-national”, and urged the Centre to accede to the demands of the protesting farmers.
The Opposition party’s assertion came a day after Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said some “anti-social elements” are conspiring to spoil the atmosphere of the peasants’ movement under the guise of farmers, and appealed to the protesting farming community to be vigilant against their platform being misused.
Also, Food, Railway and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal was more direct in his charge, alleging that certain Leftist and Maoist elements seem to have taken “control” of the agitation and rather than discussing farmer issues, they seem to be having some other agenda.
Tagging a media report on Goyal’s remarks, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Mr Modi, autocracy has no place in democracy. Yours and your ministers’ policy is to declare every opponent a Maoist and an anti-national.”
“Apologise to the farmers who are on a sit-in braving the fierce cold and rains, and accede to their rightful demands immediately,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
In another tweet, Surjewala attacked Modi for his remarks on Saturday at an event that the agri reforms will be beneficial for the farmers, saying farmers want pro-people governance not flowery speeches, and the people in the country want cheap ration.
“The whole country is fed up of your enticing ‘lollypops’,” he said in a tweet in Hindi, attacking the Prime Minister.
Farmers are protesting the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. PTI