Farm laws: Priyanka Gandhi detained on way to meet President
Armed with two crore signatures against the three controversial farm laws, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and other members of the party started a march toward Rashtrapati Bhavan today. However, their attempt to meet President Ram Nath Kovind was derailed as Delhi Police took them into custody. Priyanka and her aides were taken to Mandir Marg station and are expected to be released soon.
During the Monsoon Session, three farm laws were passed, which the government said would swell the income of farmers by allowing them to sell their produce to a buyer of their choice. But the farmers argued that these reforms will leave them at the mercy of big corporate players. Demanding that the laws are repealed, they have been protesting for almost a month.
Unsurprisingly, Congress is also supporting the farmers' cause, and to coerce the Centre approached the President. However, Delhi Police, governed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, spoiled Congress and Priyanka's plans. As she took out the march, Priyanka said, "Any dissent against this government is classified as having elements of terror. We are undertaking this march to voice our support for the farmers."
"We are living in a democracy and these are elected MPs. They have the right to meet the President and they should be allowed. What is the problem with that? The government is not ready to listen to the voices of farmers camping at borders," she added.
Priyanka said the government committed a sin by calling protesting farmers "anti-nationals." She also seemed surprised by her detention. "Sometimes they say we are so weak that we don't qualify as Opposition and sometimes, they say that we are so powerful that we have made lakhs of farmers camp at the border for a month. They should first decide what we are," she added.
While Priyanka was taken in custody, her brother, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, was allowed to meet President Kovind. Accompanied by colleagues Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Rahul submitted the memorandum, containing signatures. "I told the President that these farm laws are anti-farmer. The country has seen that farmers have stood up against these laws," he told media after the meeting.
Sending a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul said furious farmers won't return until these laws are repealed. He suggested holding a joint session of the Parliament for the same, adding that the entire opposition supported farmers. Accusing the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime of favoring a select few, once again, he said, "PM Modi is making money for the crony capitalists."
PM Modi is making money for the crony capitalists. Whoever will try to stand against him will be called terrorist - be it farmers, labourers and even Mohan Bhagwat: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/BnasthQBiX— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2020
The MP from Wayanad, Kerala, also spoke about the behavior meted out to people from his party. To a reporter who sought comment on the custody of Priyanka and others, Rahul said, "Yeh aap kis desh ki baat kar rahe ho? (Which country are you talking about). There is no democracy in India. It can be in your imagination, but not in reality."
Several Opposition parties attempted to block the Bills's passage in September but failed. After facing defeat in the Parliament, they approached President Kovind, who had also given assent to the laws. On December 9, another delegation of Opposition, including Rahul, met him over the same issue. While the Opposition has been targeting the Centre, the latter accused them of misleading the farmers.