Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said, “the farmers were not asking for free gifts” while addressing the farmers’ rally at Jantar Mantar near Parliament in New Delhi.
Rahul Gandhi was expressing solidarity with thousands of farmers from across the country who reached the Ramlila ground in the national capital on Thursday for a mega protest march to the Parliament Street on Friday demanding higher crop prices and farm loan waiver.
“Farmers aren’t asking for Ambani’s aircraft. If you can wave their loans, then you should waive farmer loans,” he said targeting the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
The Congress chief further assured the farmers of complete support from the party.
Many political leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and CPI (M)’s Sitaram Yechury are among the others who are participating in the rally.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Modi government has stabbed farmers in the back by telling the Supreme Court that it cannot implement recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission which the BJP promised to do so in 2014.
Addressing the farmers rat Jantar Mantar, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also slammed the Centre’s crop insurance scheme as a “fraud” and demanded that it be scrapped.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which has organised the Kisan Mukti march, got the required permission around Thursday midnight.
The farmers reached the national capital carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, a leader of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association said. The protestors have threatened to march naked in case they are not allowed to go to parliament today.
Police have made special arrangements for the protest with 3,500 personnel called in.
The march from central Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan started at 10 a.m. and reached the Parliament street at 11.30 a.m.
Farmers, from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states, marched on four different routes in the national capital, starting at three major railway stations Anand Vihar, Nizamuddin and Bijwasan and at Sabzi Mandi, their leaders said.
Social activist Medha Patkar led the protest march as farmers raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.
Many women farmers and students, particularly from the Delhi University, were seen in the rallies raising slogans for the cause of farmers.
The Friday’s rally is the fourth major farmers’ rally being held by the AIKSCC, which represents over 200 farm outfits.
It has been protesting against “anti-farmer” policies of the BJP government following the Mandsaur firing episode in Madhya Pradesh in 2017, which led to the death of six farmers.
The AIKSCC has demanded a special session of Parliament so that these Bills are discussed and passed.
It said 21 political parties have extended their support to the Bills. It has also written to Modi, inviting him to join the protest march.