CHANDIGARH: Describing the agriculture-related bills passed by the Centre recently as "black laws", the Haryana unit of the Congress on Saturday announced an over month-long protest programme against the legislations.
The protest schedule from September 28 to October 31 was announced at a joint media interaction by in-charge of the party's Haryana affairs Vivek Bansal, Haryana Pradesh Congress president Kumari Selja, former chief minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda, general secretary of All India Congress Committee Randeep Singh Surjewala and secretary AICC Ashish Dua here.
The party announced the statewide agitation against the central government's "three black laws", saying the legislations will "ruin" the lives of farmers, commission agents and labourers.
On September 28, a "foot march" under the leadership of Kumari Selja will be held from the party office to Haryana Raj Bhavan seeking the repeal of these laws by giving a memorandum to the governor with a request to forward it to the President of India, as per the programme.
It stated that the party activists will observe "save farmers and labourers" events at every assembly and district headquarters on October 2.
A state-level farmers' conference will be held on October 10.
From October 2 to October 31, the party will launch a "signature campaign" against the bills.
Party's Haryana affairs in-charge Bansal said the Congress party, under the leadership of its president Sonia Gandhi and former chief Rahul Gandhi, stands fully united with the farmers to protect their interests.
Selja said the BJP government has launched a "brutal attack" on the farmers, labourers and commission agents (arthiyas) through these "black laws''.
She alleged the three agri bills were passed in Parliament by "murdering democracy".
Selja said the BJP government has completely failed to double the income of the farmers and to give the prices of agricultural produce as per the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee, and now it is determined to completely ruin the farmers, labourers and commission agents through these legislations.
She claimed that with the implementation of contract farming, small farmers will become labourers in their own fields and their lives will be ruined.
"Due to not getting the least assured price of farm produce, the agricultural economy will be completely destroyed," she claimed.
Selja said with the farmers not getting the minimum support price of cotton, maize and paddy, they will be forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices.
Speaking on the occasion, Hooda said the demand of the Congress party is that the BJP government should enact another law to ensure that the farmers will get the minimum support price for their produce under all circumstances.
Surjewala said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while being the chief minister of Gujarat, had advocated to make the agriculture market system more comprehensive and strong, but now he himself is making a law to abolish the mandis.
He said the Modi government after "destroying" shopkeepers and labourers through its "wrong policies" is now hell-bent on "completely eliminating" the farmers.
When mandis are finished, who will get the minimum support price and how will the small farmers send their produce to far-flung areas, Surjewala asked.
He said there are over 15 crore farmers in the country and when the BJP government is unable to buy agricultural produce from 42,000 farmers at the minimum support price, then how will it be able to give the minimum support price to all the farmers of the country.
Surjewala said the grain business is of 25 lakh crore and the government's intention is "handing it over to the mafia".
"More than 86 per cent farmers own two acres of land or less. They do not have the ability to sell produce outside the mandis," he said.
Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the farmers' interests are supreme for the state government.
"Now, no politics can be done in the name of farmers as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of doubling the income of farmers by the year 2022 and implemented several schemes and programmes in this direction," he told the media in Gurgaon.
He said bills on agriculture reforms passed by Parliament during the Monsoon Session would prove to be "very effective" towards doubling the income of farmers.
Taking a dig at the opposition, Khattar said the opposition parties are spreading confusion among the farmers on the Agriculture Act under a "political agenda", which is not appropriate.
He said the Congress is "misguiding" the farmers to fulfill its "political interests".