The Congress on Friday said the government should stop "deceiving and betraying" farmers and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise to them for insulting those protesting against the recent farm laws by dubbing them as "anti-nationals".
Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told a press conference that the prime minister is deceiving the farmers by meeting those in Madhya Pradesh through video-conferencing, instead of meeting those protesting in the cold at the doorstep of Delhi.
He said the government should shed arrogance and repeal the three farm laws at the earliest.
The Congress leader's remarks came on a day the prime minister interacted with the farmers of Madhya Pradesh virtually, while stoutly defending the new farm laws and saying those were in the works for decades and the people opposing the legislations now for gaining lost political ground were once votaries to the same reforms.
Modi said the opposition parties were against the new laws as they were upset that he would get the credit, even as he dubbed as blatant lies and accusations that the new laws will lead to the scrapping of the minimum support price (MSP) for crops.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the prime minister should stop spreading falsehood and take back the farm laws.
"Being habitual, Modiji again spread falsehood today. Listen to the farmers and withdraw the anti-agricultural laws," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Gandhi asked how many more farmers will have to give their sacrifice and when will the farm laws be repealed.
"How many more 'annadatas' (food givers) will have to give their sacrifice? When will the anti-agriculture laws be abolished?" he asked on Twitter.
Surjewala said "Prime Minister Modi should listen to Chief Minister Modi" as he himself had recommended to then prime minister Manmohan Singh for making the MSP legally binding as the head of a working group.
"Stop insulting the farmers by dubbing them as anti-nationals and apologise to them. It is shameful that the ministers of this government are dubbing the protesting farmers as terrorists, khalistanis, tukde-tukde gang members. Shed this shameful behaviour and the prime minister should instead apologise to the farmers for insulting them and take back the black laws," he said.
"While ignoring the farmers protesting in the cold at the borders of Delhi, the prime minister is deceiving and betraying them by talking virtually to those in Madhya Pradesh. The truth is that the arrogance of the Modi government is responsible for the death of 24 farmers, who died during the protests while demanding justice," the Congress leader said.
He said that the prime minister was being "farcical" with the farmers of Madhya Pradesh as a number of "mandis" (wholesale markets) have been shut down in the country after the new farm laws were enacted.
Surjewala accused the government of trying to spread disinformation about the three farm laws and alleged that it was becoming a bigger trading company than even the East India Company of the British.
"Why does Prime Minister Modi not listen to Chief Minister Modi on giving a legal guarantee to MSP? As a chief minister and while heading a working group, he had recommended to then prime minister Manmohan Singh to make MSP legally binding. Why is he denying his own statement today?" he asked.