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Updated on: Saturday, November 20, 2021, 01:22 PM IST

'Now accept truth of Chinese occupation also': Rahul Gandhi tweets a day after PM Modi's announcement on repealing farm laws

Gandhi and his Congress party have been attacking the government over alleged Chinese incursions in Ladakh.
'Now accept truth of Chinese occupation also': Rahul Gandhi tweets a day after PM Modi's announcement on repealing farm laws  | File Photo

'Now accept truth of Chinese occupation also': Rahul Gandhi tweets a day after PM Modi's announcement on repealing farm laws | File Photo

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A day after the government took a u-turn on farm laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that "now the truth of Chinese occupation should also be accepted".

His remark comes a day after the Centre on Friday announced repealing the three Central farm laws.

Gandhi and his Congress party have been attacking the government over alleged Chinese incursions in Ladakh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced the repeal of the three agri laws that has triggered a year of protests by farmers, in a dramatic move seen as a climbdown and also apologised to the people over his government not being able to "convince" a section of farmers about the "truth" regarding their benefits.

The announcement of the withdrawal of the contentious laws in his address to the nation that coincided with Guru Nanak Jayanti was warily welcomed by leaders of the farmers' unions spearheading the agitation but they said the protests will continue till the measures are repealed in Parliament and Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops gets legal guarantee.

The prime minister in his speech that comes ahead of key Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab early next year noted that it is the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and no occasion to blame anyone.

"I have come to tell you that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws. In the upcoming Parliament session starting at the end of this month, we will complete the constitutional process to repeal the three farm laws," Modi said in his 9 am address.

He appealed to all his farmer friends to return home to their fields and families and make a new beginning on this auspicious occasion, a day when gurudwaras across the country are lit up to celebrate the festival. Thousands of farmers had set up camps at entry points into the national capital since November 26 last year.

". let us move forward afresh," Modi said, adding that the goal of the three agriculture reform laws was to empower farmers, especially small farmers.

Quoting the last Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, Modi wished that he never back down from doing good work.

"Whatever I did, I did for the farmers and whatever I am doing, I am doing for the country. With your blessings, there was no deficiency in my hard work even earlier. Today I assure you that I will work harder now so that your dreams can come true, the dreams of the country can come true," he said.

The prime minister also spoke at length about the benefits the farm laws were expected to bring to farmers, especially those with small landholdings, and his government's good faith in enacting these legislations.

The government brought them with full integrity and clear conscience in the interest of farmers and country, he added. Leaders of farmers' unions, however, fear that the laws will expose them to the vagaries of the free market and corporatisation of agriculture.

The prime minister then apologised to people of the country, saying he wanted to convey to them with a "sacred heart" that there may have been some shortcomings in the government's efforts that it could not convince some farmers about the truth which was "as clear as the light of a candle".

"There may have been some shortcoming in our efforts due to which we could not explain the truth, as clear as the light of the diya, to some of our farmer brothers," Modi said, referring to the protests, spearheaded by farmers from Punjab and also Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. which left about 700 dead.

While the opposition parties congratulated the farmers and took a swipe at the government, saying the "fear of defeat" in the upcoming assembly elections has forced the BJP take the decision, the BJP lauded Prime Minister Modi's announcement as a "statesmanlike" move that will further the atmosphere of brotherhood across the country.

"The PM's announcement on the withdrawal of the three farm laws is not inspired by a change of policy or a change of heart. It is impelled by fear of elections," senior Congress leader and former union minister P Chidambaram charged in a series of tweets.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the decision to repeal the three "black" farm laws is a victory of the longest peaceful people's struggle that was started by farmers in Punjab. "My salute to the Annadata." Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the announcement shows there is no other thought except the welfare of each and every Indian for the prime minister. "He(Modi) has shown remarkable statesmanship," Shah tweeted.

The farmers welcomed the announcement of the repeal of the laws, which had pitted them and the government against each other through 12 months of dogged protests and 11 rounds of talks, but made it clear it may not be enough.

A final decision on the matter will be taken on Saturday during a meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha's(SKM) core committee, farmer leader Darshan Pal told PTI.

The umbrella body of 40 farmer unions said their agitation was not just against the repeal of the "three black laws" but also for a statutory guarantee to remunerative prices for all agricultural produce.

"This important demand of farmers is still pending," it said, clarifying that it would wait for the announcement to take effect through due parliamentary procedures.

Farmers performed special 'yagnas' and danced to drum beats as celebrations broke out at the Ghazipur, Tikri and Singhu border points but Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, the influential farmer leader from western UP, asked supporters not to engage in celebrations as their "struggle" will continue.

For the past one year, thousands of farmers camped at the border points braving by turns biting cold, monsoon rains, Covid pandemic scare and also accusations of "creating obstructions".

"The protest will not be withdrawn immediately, we will wait for the day when the farm laws are repealed in Parliament.," Tikait tweeted in Hindi, even as Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary urged the farmers to return home and not be adamant as the Centre has met their demand of repealing the three farm laws.

Celebrations also erupted at many places in Punjab and Haryana over the Centre's surprise U-turn with people including farmers distributing sweets and dancing to the beats of 'dhol'.

The ruling BJP hopes the decision will placate the two main communities leading the protests - the Sikhs, who are in a majority in Punjab, and the Jats, a major demographic constituency in western UP.

As the campaign for the upcoming assembly polls gathers pace, the decision underlines the ruling BJP's imperative to make amends and infuse a fresh momentum in its political drive, especially in efforts to retain its dominance in UP.

While the party will hope to make a fresh political start in Punjab in an expected alliance with former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who has been urging the government to take measures to end the protests, its stakes are the highest in UP where it had won an unprecedented 312 seats in the 403-member assembly in 2017. Amarinder lauded the announcement as "great news" and thanked Modi for acceding to the demand of "every Punjabi".

In his speech, the prime minister said the constitutional formalities to revoke the laws will be done during the winter session of Parliament beginning November 29.

The three farm bills at the centre of emotive protests - and debate - are the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The Supreme Court had put the laws in abeyance.

The government will have to move a bill in Parliament to repeal the three agri laws, Constitution and legal experts said.

According to Supreme Court-appointed farm panel member Anil Ghanwat, the Centre's decision is a regressive step.

"Our panel had submitted several corrections and solutions over the three farm laws, but instead of using it to solve the impasse, Modi and BJP chose to backtrack. They just want to win elections and nothing else," the president of the Shetkari Sanghatna told PTI.

The Congress announced a 'Kisan Vijay Diwas' on Saturday and said it will organise victory rallies across the country on behalf of farmers to mark the Centre's announcement. Its leaders will also visit the families of the over 700 farmers who died during the agitation and organise candle marches and rallies.

Describing the Centre's decision as a "victory against injustice", party leader Rahul Gandhi said, "Country's 'annadatas' (food providers) have made arrogance bow its head through satyagraha." Apart from repealing the laws, Modi also announced setting up a committee to make MSP system more effective and transparent as well as suggest ways to promote zero budgeting based-agriculture, a term for farming based on natural fertilizers and local seeds, to change crop patterns as per the changing needs of the country.

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published on: Saturday, November 20, 2021, 01:22 PM IST
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