Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “arrogant raja” of fables. Keeping up her attack on the contentious new farm laws, she said these laws would lead to the closure of government Mandis and the weakening of the MSP regime.
The Congress leader was addressing a ‘Kisan Panchayat’ in Baghra town of Muzaffarnagar — her third such address to farmers in western Uttar Pradesh, after meetings in Saharanpur and Bijnor.
Continuing with her attack on the Prime Minister, she said the way he is selling the country to his billionaire friends, “he would sell you, your land, and your income to them.”
She said the Prime Minister reminded her of the arrogant king of fables who confined himself to his palace as his power grew and didn’t listen to the people who elected him.
Referring to the contentious farm laws, Ms Priyanka Vadra said the first law would ensure that the government Mandis would gradually shut down and in the private Mandis, the rates would be decided by capitalists in an arbitrary fashion.
“They would buy and sell according to their interest,” Priyanka said, adding that in case of a dispute, small farmers with their modest land-holdings, would be pitted against the capitalist friends of the Prime Minister. “You tell me who would be heard,” she asked the massive gathering.
Speaking in the sugar bowl of the State, Ms Vadra also raised the issue of hike in prices of diesel and the fertiliser DAP.
“The rates of electricity and gas cylinder have also seen a steep rise but you are not being paid your dues,” she said referring to the pending cane dues to the farmers.
Since 2014 the government has made ₹21.50 lakh crore through taxes on petroleum products, Ms Vadra said. “I want to ask where has that money gone. Why have those who irrigate the land of this country with their sweat and blood not received their dues?”
And when the farmer knocked at their doors, she said, the government didn’t care to listen to his woes. “The PM who could travel across the world could not take the pain to travel 5-6 km to meet farmers at the Delhi borders and wipe off their tears,” she said. “It seems he is in politics for himself and his billionaire friends,” she charged.
The Congress leader reiterated the charge that the Prime Minister had enough money to buy planes for world tours but didn’t have the intention to pay the pending dues of the sugarcane farmers.
Instead, she said, the farmer, who sends his son to protect the country’s border, was insulted and was made fun of by the Prime Minister in Parliament. “He [the farmer] was called an andolandjeevi (professional protestor), a parjeevi (parasite).”
She said she considered a farmer, the heart of the country. “But when Chaudhary Tikait had tears in his eyes, our Prime Minister had a smile on his lips. He saw it is as a humorous situation,” she alleged.
On the way to Muzaffarnagar, Priyanka Vadra was welcomed at three spots in Meerut. The region had seen serious fissures between Jats and Muslims after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. In a sign of changing equations, Saturday’s meeting organised by local Congress heavyweights Harendra Malik and Pankaj Malik, saw the participation of a large number of Muslim farmers.
Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda and champion boxer Vijendra Singh, both from the neighbouring Haryana, also addressed the panchayat.