Charging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “no time” to meet farmers and hear their woes, Congress on Sunday said it would take the fight on the “anti-farmer” land bill to the states.
Addressing a Kisan Samman rally at Ramlila Ground in New Delhi, party President Sonia Gandhi and Vice- President Rahul Gandhi vowed to fight tooth and nail any attempt to bring back the land ordinance in any form and countered the Prime Minister’s charge that Congress was blocking development.
Accusing the Prime Minister of going back on his promises made during Lok Sabha polls and “talking hollow” after coming to power, Sonia Gandhi charged the Prime Minister has “no time” to meet farmers and address their woes as he has time and interest only for his “few industrialist friends”.
“Yes, he has also the interest, time and money for foreign trips,” the Congress President said taking a jibe at Modi’s foreign visits.
Holding that a party, which fought to get India freedom from the Britishers and participated in the growth story of the nation for 60 years cannot be anti-development, Sonia said that whenever the government does not listen to the problems of the farmers and the poor, Congress will stand in its way.
“The Congress will act as an obstacle in their way whenever they stop giving an ear to peoples’ problems, whenever farmers are not given Minimum Support Price, whenever drought and flood affected farmers are left at the mercy of God and the price of edible items is not brought down”, Congress President said.
“If development means benefiting few persons, we will definitely act as a roadblock in such development,” she said alleging Modi is trying to paint Congress as anti-development in order to “hide failures” of NDA government,” she added.
On the land bill she told the farmers, “The fight is yet not finished. The battlefield has now only shifted from Delhi to states as the Prime Minister, after having failed to do it at Centre, is trying to get it done in states. We need to be all the more careful now, otherwise your struggle will go in vain and you will driven away from your land.”
Terming the fight on the land issue, a fight for “not only land but honour of farmers, who treat land as mother,” Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi asked them not to trust the promise made by Modi few days back not to bring changes in UPA land law, which came after Modi government promulgated the ordinance three times to press them.
“We know what Modi ji is. He does not say what he thinks. That is why on one hand, he said that he will change the Congress law and on the other hand asked his Chief Ministers to bring them (the changes).”
Coining a phrase “Take in India” to attack Modi, Rahul attacked the Prime Minister’s much talked about “Make in India” campaign.
“Modi talks about Make in India but there is no place for farmers, labourers in his Make in India. Modi ji says there can be no Make in India without taking away your land. It is not Make in India but actually Take in India. In the end you will not get anything. Only two three of his friends will be the beneficiaries,” he said.
Reminding farmers of their emotional connect with land, he said that in the course of his agitation against NDA on the land bill issue, “A farmer told me Modi is snatching not land but our mother from us. He wants to snatch our mother from us and want to give it to somebody else. We cannot tolerate it.”
“He asked me to fight for them and then I realized that this is not a fight for land but a fight for their honour, their future,” he said.