Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 30
The Congress on Saturday warned the government against wrongfully implicating the agitating farmer leaders, saying the government had made one mistake of pushing the farm laws through Parliament but should avoid the second mistake of targeting genuine protesting leaders.
Speaking at the all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded a discussion on farmer issues on priority when the Budget Session resumes after recess.
He said: “The government can stand on prestige with anyone but should not stand on prestige with our farmers, who produce food for the nation.”
Azad said the Opposition had warned the Centre against pushing the laws without sending them to a standing or a select committee of Parliament.
Condemning the Republic Day violence, Azad said the incidents involved lumpen elements who should be punished.
“We condemn the Republic Day incidents. Never have we seen such a thing on January 26 or August 15. This would have never happened had the government needed the Opposition and allowed Parliamentary scrutiny of farm laws. That way, the government could have ensured that the concerns of farmers are addressed,” said Azad, warning the government of the agitation swelling up if the government continued to implicate farmer leaders.
“When I was a chief minister, I saw that no one objected if a terrorist was killed but if an innocent person was killed in the name of terrorism, there was always a furore,” said Azad, asking the government to pause and rethink the rules of engagement with the farmers.
Azad also demanded a discussion on economy and the the declining GDP and jobs noting, “Given the hike in petrol and diesel prices, I can say it is easier to buy a car these days but difficult to top it up with fuel.”
Azad also asked the Centre to bring a bill urgently to grant full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, saying a sensitive border state could not be left to officers and bureaucrats.
“Now, the district development council and panchayat elections have been concluded in Jammu and Kashmir. Now there’s no excuse to not restore JK’s statehood,” said the former JK chief minister.