Rajat Sharma Blog: Farmers must know what Rahul, Sonia, Manmohan Singh said about farm laws 9 years ago | Learn, what Rahul, Sonia and Manmohan Singh said about agricultural laws 9 years ago

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India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma.

Now it has become very clear that many political parties, including the Congress and the Left, are provoking the farmers to not end the ongoing strike over the Delhi border. They do not want the farmer leaders to negotiate with the Center, find a way out and go to their homes. This is clear from the statements of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the leader of the Left Farmers Union, Hannan Mollah. Both clearly stated that the farmers will continue their agitation till the three new agricultural laws are withdrawn.

Rahul Gandhi met the President on Thursday along with 2 other leaders of his party, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary and submitted a memorandum to them demanding withdrawal of all three agricultural laws. These leaders wanted to march from Vijay Chowk to Rashtrapati Bhavan with their party MPs, but due to the corono virus epidemic, Delhi Police stopped them from moving forward. The President allowed only 3 Congress leaders to give him the memorandum. All the Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi, tried to cross the barricade and then the police took them into custody. After a while all the detained leaders were released.

Rahul Gandhi claimed outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan that the memorandum he submitted to the President has been signed by 2 crore farmers. In the memorandum, the party called a special session of Parliament and demanded the repeal of the three agricultural laws. After this, Rahul again started repeating the same old allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to benefit his 2 or 3 ‘industrialist friends’ through these agricultural laws, but the farmers will not tolerate them all. He said that Congress stands with agitating farmers.

On Thursday night in our prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, we showed a video clip of 3 speeches given by Rahul Gandhi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on farmers’ issues 9 years ago.

On December 16, 2011, in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi was counting the benefits of the ‘open market’ to farmers. At that time the UPA government was in power and Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. Addressing the public meeting, Rahul had said, ‘Farmers growing potatoes are facing difficulties. About 60 percent of vegetables in India rot due to lack of proper storage. We want to bring FDI in the retail sector so that farmers can sell their produce directly to buyers, but the opposition stopped us from bringing this bill in Parliament. Why? Because the opposition is anti-farmer.

For the past 6 years, we have been constantly watching Rahul Gandhi accusing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is acting at the behest of industrialists like Ambani and Adani, but what happened during the UPA rule that lasted for 10 years? At that time not only Rahul Gandhi but every big Congress leader was speaking in favor of private and foreign investment in agriculture.

Addressing a Congress rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on 4 November 2012, the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said, “Our government’s decision to allow foreign investment in retail trade has been much debated. I, the Congress Party and our government believe that this decision is in the interest of our country, which will benefit both the general public and the farmers. Today a large part of the crop of farmers is wasted. We are not able to provide transport and storage facilities. Foreign investment in retail trade can help improve these facilities. Our farmer brothers and sisters can get better prices for their crops, because they will be able to take them to the markets. The general public will be able to get vegetables and fruits at cheap prices.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had said in very clear words on many occasions that the farmer is poor because he does not get the right price for the crop. He had said, ‘The farmers are poor because they have been made slaves of the mandis, and they will get better price for the crop only when they are freed from the clutches of middlemen. And this will happen only when the farmers are given the right to sell their crops outside the market wherever they want and at whatever rate they want.

On 3 October 2012, Sonia Gandhi said, “Farmers’ produce is bought cheaply and sold in the city at the most expensive prices. I want to ask that it is not right for farmers to get the right price for their produce? Does not the common man of the city have the right to get the necessities of everyday life at the right price? When will this be possible? This is possible only when farmers are able to reach their produce directly to the city without any middlemen.

Listening to these statements, one may feel that a minister in the Modi government is defending the agricultural laws. Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, the three leaders are saying that farmers should get the right to sell crops outside the mandi and middlemen should be eliminated. The three leaders also spoke in support of foreign and private investment in agriculture. But today Rahul Gandhi is saying the exact opposite of what he said 9 years ago.

Reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s allegations, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sudhanshu Trivedi said on Thursday, “The Congress should explain why it allowed Pepsi and Nestle India to procure crops directly from farmers 32 years ago.”

The BJP is right in saying that the Congress government had done 32 years ago to invert contract farming and private sector in farming. It is also true of the BJP that Rahul, Sonia and Dr. Manmohan Singh repeatedly spoke in favor of private and foreign investment in contract farming and agriculture. When he was in power, he called for an end to the role of middlemen in farming.

Then why this U-turn? I think Rahul Gandhi feels that the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and UP, who have been sitting on a dharna for the past one month, will not remember what he and his party leaders said 9 years ago. Rahul and his party leaders only want to take political advantage of the ongoing deadlock between the farmers and the Center.

The only agenda of the Congress and the Left is to target the center by placing a gun on the shoulders of the farmers. They mean nothing to the interests of the farmers, nor to the MSP or ‘mandis’. That is why Rahul infiltrates Ambani and Adani in their speeches, then the left parties start demanding the release of Jailed Sharjeel Imam and Varavara Rao on charges of treason.

My advice to those who are real farmers is that they have to understand the issues with a balanced approach. They have to see what is in their interest. In conflict or in negotiation, it is good for everyone to leave the path of confrontation and find a way out of the conversation. The farmers should not allow any political party to take advantage of this movement, as long as the interest of these political parties remains, they will not let the matter be resolved. (Rajat Sharma)

Watch: ‘Aaj Ki Baat, With Rajat Sharma’ Full Episode of December 24, 2020


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