‘No Democracy’: Rahul Meets Prez On Farm Laws; Priyanka Detained
The delegation led by Rahul submitted a memorandum with over 2 crore signatures against the farm laws to Kovind.
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Several Congress leaders including Priyanka Gandhi, marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Ram Nath Kovind over the Centre’s farm laws, were stopped and detained by the police on Thursday, 24 December, a move Priyanka Gandhi called the government’s tactic to ‘crush dissent’.
A delegation of Congress MPs and leaders led by Rahul Gandhi was to submit a memorandum signed during a nationwide signature campaign to President Kovind on Thursday, urging him to intervene to annul the three farm laws enacted in September.
“Any dissent against this government is classified as having elements of terror. We are undertaking this march to voice our support for the farmers,” Priyanka Gandhi said, as quoted by ANI.
Priyanka Gandhi, along with other leaders, has been taken to the Mandir Marg police station.
‘We’re in a Democracy, What’s the Problem?’ Priyanka:
“We're living in a democracy and they are elected MPs. They have the right to meet the President and they should be allowed. What is problem with that? The Government is not ready to listen to voices of lakhs of farmers camping at borders,” Priyanka Gandhi further said.
“It is a sin to use the kind of names they (BJP leaders and supporters) used for farmers. If the government is calling them anti-nationals, then the government is a sinner,” she further said.
Priyanka further lashed out at the BJP for calling the Congress weak and powerful as per its convenience.
“Sometimes they say we are so weak that we don’t qualify as the Opposition and sometimes, they say that we are so powerful that we have made lakhs of farmers camp at the border (of Delhi) for a month. They should first decide what we are,” ANI quoted her as saying.
‘No Democracy,’ Says Rahul on Detention, Meets President
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the three leaders who had reportedly taken the President’s appointment, met Kovind and reiterated the demand of withdrawing the farm laws.
“I told the President that these farm laws are anti-farmer. The country has seen that the farmers have stood up against these laws,” Rahul Gandhi told the media after the meeting, as quoted by ANI.
“I want to tell the Prime Minister that these farmers are not going to go back home until these farm laws are repealed. The government should convene a joint session of Parliament and take back these laws. Opposition parties stand with farmers and labourers,” he added.
Hinting at Priyanka’s detention, Rahul Gandhi said that democracy in India is only an imagination under the Modi regime.
“There is no democracy in India. It can be in your imagination, but not in reality,” he said.
“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.” he added.
He further siad that the country is being run by an “incompetent man who does not understand anything and is running a system on the behalf of three or four other people who understand everything.”
Addressed to President Kovind, the memorandum has been signed by farmers, farm labourers and other stakeholders opposing these legislations right from the initial stage of introduction of these bills in the Parliament.
No Permission Taken for the March, Says Police
Additional DCP (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav earlier on Thursday had said that no permission has been granted for the Congress' march to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“However, three leaders, who have appointment at Rashtrapati Bhavan, will be allowed to go,” he had said, according to ANI.
Met President Before But No Action Was Taken: Congress
Congress leaders, ahead of the march had said that a delegation of the Opposition leaders met the President before, but no action was teken.
“We want the government to atone for their complete lack of consulting farmers before passing these bills. I think the President has an important moral role in encouraging and guiding government to not stand on their legislative pride,” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had said on earlier Thursday ahead of the march.
“Rahul Gandhi along with Opposition leaders met President and submitted the memorandum to resolve farmers' issue before. But there was no action from the President and the government,” K Suresh told ANI.
Around 2 crore signatures, urging the intervention of the President for the withdrawal of the three legislations, have been collected till now, said a statement by KC Venugopal, General Secretary (organisation).
The Congress General Secretary said that lakhs of farmers are protesting braving chilly winter conditions against the three blatantly anti-agriculture laws aimed at bartering their interests in the hands of select crony capitalist friends of the Modi government. They have been blocked from entering the national capital for the last 27 days, despite prior notice and peaceful intent, he said.
The farmers, since the last few days, have been sitting on an indefinite strike against these legislations. A number of protesting farmers have lost their lives due to harsh weather conditions and other reasons since the protest began 27 days back.
(With inputs from IANS and ANI.)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.