Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi Rides Tractor to Parliament as Women Farmers Stoke Protest in Delhi
11:49 GMT 26.07.2021 (Updated: 14:42 GMT 25.10.2022)
Indian farmers have intensified their protests against three farm laws amid Parliament's ongoing monsoon session.
On Monday Congress leader Rahul Gandhi rode a red tractor to the Parliament building in the heart of Delhi in support of the ongoing farmers' protest.
Followed by several Congress workers and security guards, the 50-year-old former party chief was behind the wheel of the machine, which was emblazoned with slogans backing the farmers.
"If you force to sell our lands, then the tractor will run in Parliament – we will grow the crops of truth! Withdraw the anti-agriculture laws," the Congress leader wrote alongside a picture he posted on Twitter, issuing a warning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.
His stunt came after 200 female farmers and activists stoked the situation in Delhi's Jantar Mantar area near the Parliament building. They were demanding the government repeal the controversial farm laws.
"Along with voicing our demands seeking complete repulsion of the agricultural laws, we are also expressing grave disappointment at people who have called us derogatory names, including 'terrorists' and 'paid actors' in these past few months," farmer leader Babli Singh told Sputnik.
"It's completely unacceptable. We are the food providers of this nation and our issues deserve to be heard and resolved," Singh, who is an active member of farmer union Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), stated.
The two new farm bills and one amendment act that has stirred the protests are the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
While Prime Minister Modi and his government back the three farm laws and call them “progressive,” the farmers fear they will dilute the minimum support price (MSP) system, as the new laws now require farmers to sign supply contracts with buyers.
Over 300 farmers have died amid the protests
due to natural causes, hot weather, and suicides, union leaders claim.
Agricultural activist Kavitha Kuruganti – who has participated in the protests – told Sputnik that opposition parties as well as the common people of India must support the farmers during these testing times.
"Everybody who wants food sovereignty and fair income for farmers must support their protests. Be it the opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi or common people like you and me. Our tents on Delhi borders are wet and waterlogged because of the monsoons. But we will stay put unless the laws are revoked," Kuruganti noted.