The Telangana Congress today organised rallies at several district Collectorates in the state to protest the Centre's new "anti-farmer" agricultural Acts.
Former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir participated in a massive dharna the party had organised at the Kamareddy district Collectorate.
Speaking at the gathering, he demanded that the BJP-led Centre repeal the three agricultural Acts in order to protect the interests of India's agrarian community.
"The BJP government at the Centre must repeal its anti-farmer legislations at the earliest. Its failure to resolve the issue of the implementation of the farm Acts shows its complete apathy towards the protesting farmers. They have been braving the Delhi winter for nearly 50 days now - over 60 farmers have even lost their lives during the period of the agitation - and yet the Centre remains unmoved by their plight. Prime Minister Modi has even refused to provide a guarantee regarding the continuance of the MSP system. It is shameful that the Centre has been trying to build what is clearly a fake narrative that the new laws are being welcomed by a majority of farmers across the country," Shabbir Ali alleged.
He also lashed out at the NDA regime for "privileging corporate interests" over those of the farmers, instead of fulfilling its 2014 promise of implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission for the benefit of the country's farmers.
"The BJP government has brought in farm laws that will benefit only a few corporates like the Adanis and the Ambanis. However, the Congress will never allow the government to hurt the interest of the farmers in this fashion," the Congress leader said.
He then targeted the Telangana government for pursuing "anti-farmer" policies, and accused Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao of mortgaging the interest of the farmers to support the new farm laws.
"The CM owes an explanation regarding the U-turn
he took on the issue of the farm laws' implementation in Telangana. The TRS first opposed the new laws and even participated in the Bharat Bandh
called for by the protesting farmers, last December. It is appalling that the government even went as far as to announce the scrapping of the state's grain procurement centres. Why did the CM take a U-turn after he visited Delhi
? Did he make a secret pact with PM Modi while he was there? KCR should realise that his actions will cripple the farmers economically as they will be forced to sell their produce at whatever unprofitable prices the corporates offer them," the former minister said.
He also ridiculed the CM for claiming that the TRS government had suffered losses of Rs 7,500 crore in its bid to procure the state's agriculture produce at the MSP, and demanded that the latter release a White Paper (an authoritative document) with the list of the sellers and the buyers involved in the procurement.
"If the CM releases a White Paper on the procurement of crops in Telangana, it will expose a multi-crore scam. Many reports indicate that a few officials, in connivance with the TRS' leaders, sold the agricultural produce to a few select contractors at low rates to earn commission while causing huge loss to the state's exchequer. Is it any wonder that such a regime has abandoned the farmers in the state?" Shabbir Ali asked.
Elsewhere in the state, TPCC head and Nalgonda MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy addressed a dharna held at the Suryapet district Collectorate.
At the dharna, he said that the Congress would intensify its agitation until BJP-led union government and the Telangana government had purchased every grain produced by the farmers, at the MSP.
Reddy also slammed the Centre and TRS government for their "anti-farmer policies", claiming that while Prime Minister Modi and his government brought in the three new laws to deprive the farmers of the MSP, the Telangana CM had decided to follow suit and had shut down the grain procurement centres in the state.
"KCR's decision to shut down the grain procurement centres will leave Telangana's farmers with no option but to sell their produce at throwaway prices to a few corporates. His decision however is hardly surprising as he has never cared for the farmers of the state - despite having been in power for two terms, he has not fulfilled any of his promises to the the farming community. He has neither waived the farm loans, nor has he made any provisions for crop insurance. Now with these new laws, the agricultural sector will get completely smothered not only in Telangana but all over the country. The laws will benefit only a handful of corporates, and will also lead to huge inflation and impact the common man in the near future," he said.
"Both PM Modi and KCR should remember that they are democratically elected leaders, and not the rulers of personal fiefdoms. They should work towards ensuring the welfare of the people they represent instead of secretly colluding with each other to bring in anti-people laws. If they do not repeal their anti-farmer decisions, the Congress will continue to intensify its agitation against both regimes," the TPCC head added.
Today's dharnas follow the Congress' comprehensive agitation plan
against the Centre's farm Acts. The plan was unveiled by TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy some days ago. If the party continues to implement its plans, they are likely to also organise a state-wide agitation on January 18 to protest the farm Acts.