Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 7
Ahead of the Bharat bandh called by farmers’ union demanding the repeal of three agriculture reform laws, the Congress on Monday upped the ante against the Centre staging a protest at Jantar Mantar to seek convening of a Parliament session to discuss issues and said the government had lost all credibility.
Congress MPs from Punjab and Haryana Ravneet Bittu, Preneet Kaur, Gurjeet Aujla, Amar Singh, Manish Tewari, Mohammad Sadique and Deepender Hooda are currently sitting in dharna on Jantar Mantar urging the Centre to rescind the contentious laws and take further discussions to Parliament.
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar, meanwhile, addressed the media saying the responsibility for any inconvenience people would face during Bharat bandh lay with the Centre that did not consult farmers before passing the laws.
“The responsibility has to be fixed and it lies squarely at the doors of the government which failed to engage the farmers before passing the laws and also rode roughshod on the opposition when it tried to question the laws in the last session of Parliament. The solution now is to repeal the laws, call a session of Parliament and discuss issues afresh,” Jakhar said.
He said the “rigid” Centre was responsible for the agitation and for farmers sitting out in bitter cold.
Jakhar also warned that the agitation was impacting food security. “Food security is an integral part of national security. Neither can be outsourced,” he said adding that the intention of the bills was suspect and farmers would not allow corporatisation of agriculture.
“Farmers cannot be run through contractors. Also rather than spending money on a new parliament building, the Centre should realise that Parliament doesn’t run on buildings. It runs on emotions,” Jakhar said accusing the government of hurting the sentiments of farmers and not taking cognisance of their feelings.
“The discussions taking place on borders today should have taken place in Parliament. Also the government should stop following the US model of lobbying. We will not let farming be outsourced. And we will not let national security outsourced,” he said.
Jakhar also warned against certain sections instigating farmers of Haryana to raise the SYL issue in the ongoing protests. “Don’t let anyone divide Haryana and Punjab farmers. Some people are asking for SYL to be included but farmers cannot be divided,” he said terming the ongoing agitation a revolution.
The Congress also appealed to commuters to “keep their inconveniences due to the bandh aside and lend support to Bharat bandh”.