Protest will intensify across India: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked the Prime Minister to immediately withdraw the contentious farm laws before the farmers’ agitation spreads across the country.

All the three laws enacted with haste in September should be put in the waste bin and the PM should talk to the farmers agitating at the Delhi borders for over two months to resolve the issues instead of trying to discredit them, he told a Press conference at the AICC headquarters.

He said while one of the laws is to destroy the Mandi system on which dependent is the foodgrain distribution through ration shops while another law will help 4, 5 or 6 persons to hoard as much as they want while the farmers would not be able to stand against these money bags.

Rahul said the three laws involve the biggest transfer of wealth in India from the largest number to a small few and that is root cause of the farmers’ anger as they do not want to lose all that they have, with one law preventing them from even going to court for the redressal.

He said the farmers of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have understood to effect of the farm laws while the farmers of rest of India are still not clear about them. He said the government should act fast before the farmers’ revolt across the country.

Rahul also warned the movement will go from the farmers to the cities as the employment of lakhs has been snatched away. He said the PM will have to listen to the agitating farmers unless he wants to plunge the country into a chaos. He also told the farmers not to retract or budge even an inch, but fight for their future, assuring them, “we will help you fully."

About a group of farmers, mixed with miscreants, climbing the Red Fort on the R-Day, Rahul shot back: "Why were they allowed entry in Red Fort? Who is responsible?" He said it was clearly a BJP strategy to discredit the peaceful agitation of the farmers. Further, he said the PM is weakening India by attacking the farmers. The govt claims it is helping the farmers, but why do it when the farmers don't want it, he asked.

Rahul has given call for violence: BJP

The BJP on Friday accused Rahul Gandhi of declaring "war" on Indians and giving a call for "violence" after the Congress leader warned the government if farmers'' protest is not defused then their agitation will spread across the country. At a press conference, Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani alleged Gandhi said if PM Modi does not support his political stand, then cities will "burn".

Haryana govt suspends mobile internet in 14 more districts

The Haryana government on Friday decided to suspend mobile internet services in 14 more districts of the state till 5 pm of January 30 "to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order" in the wake of the farmers' agitation against the three agriculture laws. The mobile internet services except voice calls will remain suspended with immediate effect until 5 pm on Saturday in districts of Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Fatehabad, Rewari and Sirsa districts, an order issued by the Home Department said.

RLD chief Ajit Singh speaks to Tikait bros, says will back BKU

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh has announ­ced support to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), the members of which are staging a protest against the Centre's new farm laws at the Delhi-Ghazia­bad border. The former Union minister has spoken to BKU president Naresh Tikait and spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, RLD vice president and his son Jayant Chaudhary said. "It is a matter of life and death for farmers, but do not worry. All have to stay together, united in this -- this is Chaudhary saahab's (Ajit Singh's) message," the RLD vice president said in a tweet in Hindi.

‘Sadbhavna Diwas’: Fast on January 30

Farmers protesting the laws will observe 'Sadbhavna Diwas' on Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary on January 30 and hold a day-long fast, farm leaders said on Friday, and asserted their agitation will gain strength as farmers in large numbers will join them in the days ahead. In a press meet at Delhi's Singhu border, the leaders slammed the ruling BJP at the Centre and accused it of trying to "destroy" the "peaceful" agitation against the agri laws. "The conspiracy of the ruling BJP to destroy this farmers' movement is now exposed to all," said Jagjit Singh Dallewal of Bharat Kisan Union (Sidhupur).

Demands valid, attempts to discredit them wrong: Kejriwal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said the AAP fully backs the protest of farmers, calling their demands valid and attempts to discredit them completely wrong. He was respond­ing to a tweet from an unverified account of farm leader Rakesh Tikait in which he had thanked him for making arrangements at the border for farmers. "Rake­sh ji, we are fully with the farmers. Your demands are valid. It is completely wrong to discredit the farmers’ move­ment, calli­ng the farmers as tra­i­tors and making false cases against the farm leaders agita­ting peacefully for so many days," Kejriwal tweeted.

Yogi govt offers increased MSP sops

Lucknow: To assuage farmers’ feelings, the Yogi Adityanath govt on Friday night announced to increase the MSP for wheat by Rs50 for 2021-22. The govt has fixed the increased MSP to Rs1,975 per quintal increasing it to Rs50 in comparison to 2020-21. The new MSP will be implemented from April 1. Increasing the MSP by 4.61% for 2020-21, the state government had fixed the MSP for wheat to Rs1,925 last year. Notably, in a confidential report to the Modi government last year, the Yogi Adityanath government had demanded to determine the MSP for wheat as per the hiked cost of production in the state. UP contributes 31.5% share, highest in the country, in total wheat production. —Srawan Shukla

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