- Congress sought the intervention of the President to withdraw farm laws
- The party says that the appeal to the President has two crore signatures
- For nearly a month, thousands of farmers have been protesting near Delhi
Police stopped Congress leaders led by Rahul Gandhi marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan before a small delegation was permitted to enter the presidential palace to send a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind to seek his intervention to annul the farm laws against for which thousands of farmers have been protesting for almost a month near Delhi. The sister of Mr. Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and a host of other leaders were taken into preventive custody by the police and taken to the police station by bus after being stopped. It is anticipated that they will be released shortly.
There were two crore signatures in the appeal to the President, urging his intervention to revoke the three controversial rules.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi, said after meeting Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, “I want to tell the Prime Minister that these farmers are not going to go back home until these farm laws are repealed.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 arrange for a joint session of parliament and take back these laws. Opposition parties stand with farmers and labourers.” He also went ahead and criticized PM Narendra Modi and the government, claiming there was “no democracy” in India and terrorists were branded “even if it was (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat” by those who stood up against the PM.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra while sitting on the road to protest said, “Any dissent against this government is classified as having elements of terror. We are taking responsibility of this march to voice our support for the farmers.”
Shortly afterwards, Ms Gandhi-Vadra again hit out against the government, calling the government a “sinner”. Sometimes they claim we’re so weak that we don’t qualify as an opposition, and sometimes they say we’re so strong that for a month we’ve made lakhs of farmers camp at the border (of Delhi). They should first decide what we are,” she told reporters from the inside of the green DTC bus where she and other leaders were being held.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also said, “It is a sin to use such kind of names they have used for the farmers.” She pointed out further, “If the government is calling them anti-nationals, then the government is a sinner.”
Mr. Gandhi met with senior Congress leaders at the party headquarters before launching the march from central Delhi’s Vijay Chowk, where leaders gave speeches on farm laws.
Pragya, one of the many police officers who were present to detain said, “Only the leaders, who have permission, will be allowed (to go to Rashtrapati Bhavan).”
Earlier the opposition parties were seeking to block the farm bills in parliament, had asked the President not to sign the bills. The bills, they said, were passed in an undemocratic way in the Rajya Sabha. The President, however, had given all three bills his assent. Rahul Gandhi was part of the opposition’s December 9 meeting with President Kovind.
Last month, thousands of farmers, who have braved water cannons, tear gas and police barricades, began protesting against farm laws aimed at removing middlemen and enabling them to sell produce anywhere in the world.
To break the deadlock, the government has urged the farmers to participate in further talks. On Wednesday, farmers’ groups said they are prepared to hold government talks, but are waiting for the government to hold open-minded discussions and present appropriate concrete proposals.