It is likely that the party would deliberate on candidates about the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Lashing out at the Central and the Haryana governments for the alleged brutal measures to keep them away from Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Gopal Rai said that the ruling dispensation was trying to muzzle the voice of the farmers by denying them the right to peaceful march.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, he said the farmers’ demands should be accepted after due consultation without further delay as they provide food to everyone by working tirelessly despite all the odds.
Meanwhile, farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan started assembling along the border of the national capital for the protest called by prominent farmers associations in support of their demands. The farmers will carry out a protest march “Chalo Delhi” as part of their agitation scheduled to start from February 13.
The demands of the agitating farmers include the restoration of minimum support price (MSP) for their produce as assured by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2021 at the time of the withdrawal of three contentious farm laws.
Rai slammed the Haryana government for barricading the roads in a bid to stop the farmers, snapping internet connection near the border areas and other measures to thwart their rally.
“They work hard to feed everyone, from the village Patwari of India to the prime minister of the country. They produce food grains for the every citizen of this country, irrespective of his/her caste, religion, region, status, gender, and age. But alas the BJP government in Haryana, on the instructions of the BJP’s Centre, treating them in the brutal manner that was adopted by the British. The tactics employed by the government to stop their agitation are reminiscent of the colonial era,” Rai said.
Taking a dig at the government’s measures to stall the agitation including erecting nailed stone walls, the AAP leader said that such a strong wall has not been erected even on the India-Pakistan border.
Referring to the previous agitation by the farmers, when they had marched to Delhi against three farm Bills dubbed as black laws which were later withdrawn by the farmers, he recounted how they continued with their movement for more than a year despite being stopped on the border. During their sojourn on the road, they braved winter chill, scorching summer heat and rain on the roads with their commitment to their cause remaining unshaken.
“The session of Parliament has come to an end with the passage of the interim budget and the prime minister has gone out for election campaign. At this juncture, it has to be seen whether the government agrees to bring about a law to guarantee MSP for the farmers,” Rai asked.
Accusing the Haryana government of deception, he said on one hand, it is pretending to negotiate with the farmers while on the other, one can see how the police are deployed at every village in Haryana to intimidate them, petrol stations instructed to ration petrol and diesel for the farmers.
He regretted that the compensation promised by the government for more than 700 farmers died in the previous farmers’ movement was not given till date even as the police cases registered against the farmers have not been withdrawn.
On a letter by the Centre for talks with the farmers again, the AAP’s Delhi convenor said, “Your letter for talks is also a fraud as on the one hand, you invite the farmers to negotiate across the table while on the other, nails are hammered on the roads to block their entry. This means even today you are not ready to accept their demands. If you wanted to accept the demands of the farmers, you could have done it after the previous agitation.