‘Save India’s farmers from such black laws’: Cong-ruled states to intensify farm law stir | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Save India’s farmers from such black laws’: Cong-ruled states to intensify farm law stir

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySaubhadra Chatterji and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Oct 12, 2020 06:14 AM IST

The Congress party will also collect two crore signatures from farmers from across the country and submit those to President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Congress has decided to intensify its political battle against the new farm laws enacted by the Narendra Modi government by expanding the scope and intensity of protests such as the one the party recently organised in Punjab and Haryana, and going ahead with its plan of having states where it is in power pass resolutions or bills effectively nullifying these laws.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi drives a tractor during party's 'Kheti Bachao' tractor rally against the farm laws, in Patiala on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Photo by Bharat Bhushan / Hindustan Times)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi drives a tractor during party's 'Kheti Bachao' tractor rally against the farm laws, in Patiala on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Photo by Bharat Bhushan / Hindustan Times)

According to people familiar with the matter, the assessment within the party is that the agrarian distress has already affected a large chunk of the rural population and the new farm laws will aggravate the crisis. The people, who asked not to be identified, said the Congress has also decided that the party-ruled states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will summon a special session of their respective assemblies to pass their own laws to override the central laws.

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The union territory of Puducherry will adopt a resolution in this regard.

The people added that the party’s top leaders are not convinced that these bills will be approved by the respective state governors (all of whom have been appointed by the Union government). “In that case too, we are ready for any confrontation. Our aim is to save the farmers of this country from such black laws, “ said a Congress functionary.

The people said that the party discussed the possibility of moving the Supreme Court against the three farm bills, but decided that it would be better to wait to do this.

With political protests gathering steam and its states set to push their own bills that would counter the new laws, the party’s internal thinking is that time is not right for going to Supreme Court as the matter will then take a completely different turn.

“There is a time and scope for political movement. Similarly, there is a time and scope for asserting legal remedies in the court. The Congress retains the right to go to court and will do so at an opportune moment,” said Congress leader and lawyer Winter could lead to spike in Covid-19 cases: Health minister.

Singhvi has been extensively consulted on the farm bill issue and has also drafted the bills for the Congress-led state governments to take up in the respective assemblies.

The people also said that if the Congress goes to court, the move to pass bills in state assemblies might get affected as the entire issue would be before the court. “The President, who has to give his assent to every bill for becoming a law, can very well cite the ongoing cases to not sign the state bills,” said a second Congress functionary.

The party is also not sure of the outcome in the court. “If the apex court rules in favour of the government, we will lose ground and it will be difficult to continue the agitation,” said a third Congress leader. He referred to the Congress protest against the Rafale deal , where a court order took the sting out of the party’s allegations.

The Congress high command has also asked party general secretaries and in-charges to visit their respective states and intensify the anti-farm laws agitation there.

The party will also collect two crore signatures from farmers from across the country and submit those to President Ram Nath Kovind.

Some individual MPs, including DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and Congress’ TN Prathapan have knocked on the Supreme Court’s doors for remedy on the farm laws but as a collective strategy of the party, no decision to go to court has been taken yet. Prathapan has clarified that he has gone to court only on one bill and not the larger issue of three legislations.

In a sustained attack at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that not a single policy introduced by the Centre in the last six years has benefitted the poor.

“They passed the three black farm bills amid the coronavirus outbreak. What was the haste to do it at this time? They did it because they thought the farmers won’t be able to do anything, but they don’t know the power of a farmer.”

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