Today Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, who has seized on the farmers’ issue to attack the Government, targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, taking a dig at him for his frequent foreign travels and asking him to talk to farmers in India.
“Farmers in the mandis (wholesale grain markets) are crying with pain in their hearts,” the Congress VP, just back from a sudden tour of Punjab where he met distressed farmers, said in the Lok Sabha.
“Our Prime Minister is on a tour of India right now. He has come here for some days. He should go to Punjab for sometime and meet the farmers and talk to them in the mandis (granaries)”, he said, triggering protests from BJP members.
A controversial comment by Haryana Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar that farmers committing suicide were “cowards” and “criminals”, came in handy for Rahul to pillory the Government.
While farmers were “crying with pain in their hearts”, the Haryana Minister was calling them “cowards”, he said amidst a chorus of “shame, shame” from the Opposition benches.
Amid protests by BJP members, Gandhi took a swipe at the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, questioning whether farmers are not contributing to ‘Make in India’ by providing food to the entire country.
“When there was hailstorm, the government did not help.
State governmments used to give bonus, farmers tolerated its non-payment. Farmers were lathicharged when they asked for fertiliser. Now their produce is not being lifted from mandis,” he said.
Gandhi accused the government of not procuring the produce of farmers, a charge rubbished by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan who hit back by suggesting that the Congress leader was trying to become a “martyr by cutting a finger”.