PM Spent ₹16k Cr on Planes, But Can’t Pay Farmers’ Dues: Priyanka

Vadra said that by calling protesters andolanjeevi, the prime minister had mocked and insulted the farmers.

3 min read

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday, 15 February, remarked that Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought two aircraft for Rs 16,000 crore, but couldn’t find the money to pay nationwide sugarcane dues to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore.

Addressing a farmers rally in Chandpur, which falls under Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district, the Congress leader also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre had not fulfilled any of the promises that it had made.

“Here is a prime minister who hasn’t fulfilled promises, but purchased two aircraft for flying around the world. Do you know the cost of these two aircraft? He got them for Rs 16,000 crore, when in Rs 15,000 crore, they could have paid farmers for each sugarcane produced in this country.”
Priyanka Gandhi, General Secretary, Congress

According to news agency PTI, the two aircraft that Vadra was referring to, were part of Air India's commercial fleet for a few months in 2018 before they were sent back to Boeing for retrofitting for VVIP travel.

The total cost of purchase and retrofitting of the two planes has been estimated to be around ₹8,400 crore, the report said, citing an unnamed official.

Vadra also questioned the need to build a new Parliament building for Rs 20,000 crore, when farmers across India were yet to get such a large sum due to them.

PM Insulted Farmers By Mocking Them in Parliament: Vadra

Launching a scathing attack on the prime minister over the handling of the farmers protest, Vadra pointed out that the former could go on foreign trips, but hasn’t found the time to meet farmers who are protesting just kilometers away from his residence in Delhi.

“The PM who can go to America, China, Pakistan... but he can’t meet lakhs of farmers who are want him to come and have a dialogue with them. He can’t go a few kilometres and talk to them,” she said.

Vadra also asserted that by calling protesters andolanjeevis (those living for the cause of protests), the prime minister insulted protesting farmers.

“Among the many farmers who died, one is from Rampur and I had visited to his family members recently. I felt so disheartened, his mother didn’t say a word and only had tears in her eyes. And you are making fun of them in Parliament?”
Priyanka Gandhi, General Secretary, Congress

Vadra, who said that by calling farmers anti-national, the prime minister had failed to distinguish between patriotism and sedition, also called out a statement made by Haryana Agriculture Minister JP Dalal, who recently said that farmers would have died had they been in their homes as well.

Laws to Benefit Industrialists, Not Farmers: Vadra

Vadra said that the new laws have been framed only for the benefit of a select few industrialists.

  • Vadra said that by bringing in the new laws, the government has openly allowed big corporations and industrialists to buy as much produce from farmers and hoard them.
  • By allowing farmers to sell outside government mandis without any tax, Varda said that farmers would increasingly sell at private mandis, eventually leading to the closure of government ones. This, she said, would stop the MSP system and private players will fix prices.
  • With reference to contract farming, Vadra claimed that farmers could be in a soup if the corporation or entity they entered into an agreement with refused to buy their produce at the determined price.

As farmers have been protesting on the Delhi borders since 26 November last year, to demand the repeal of the three new central farm laws, the Congress has begun to hold block-level meetings to highlight their plight.

According to Congress’ Uttar Pradesh chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, party cadres have been asked to raise the issue of farmers protest with the masses.

“All party leaders have been tasked with highlighting the farmers’ demands. We will stand by the protesting farmers till the farm laws are withdrawn.”
Ajay Kumar Lallu, UP Congress President

Vadra had earlier addressed farmers in Saharanpur district, last Wednesday.

"When the Congress comes to power again, we will immediately repeal these farm laws. We will also ensure MSPs for all farmers," Vadra had said while addressing a 'Kisan Panchayat' in Chilkhana.

(With inputs from IANS.)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!