Rahul, Other Opposition Leaders Formally Join Farmers Protest at Jantar Mantar

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Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders join protesting farmers at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday. — Wasim Sarvar/IANS

Around 200 farmers have been camping at the Jantar Mantar for the ‘Kisan Sansad’ since July 22 when the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament began

NEW DELHI — The opposition led by Rahul Gandhi on Friday joined the farmers’ protest at Jantar Mantar here. The AAP, however, did not join the protest.

The leaders assembled in the Parliament premises and then boarded a bus to reach the venue.

Rahul Gandhi along with other leaders sat with the agitating farmers. He said, “Everybody in the opposition has gathered to extend support against the ‘black laws’. We want a discussion over Pegasus, but they (Government) are not allowing the discussion, Narendra Modi has intercepted every Indian’s phone with the spyware.”

The Congress leader said, “One thing that is constant in the history of our great land — the victory of the kisan, over oppression, over discrimination and over tyranny. This time too, history will repeat.”

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not, however, join the protest thogh all the three parties are also against the new farm laws and support the agitating farmers.

AAP MP Sushil Gupta said that if the protest was done under the leadership of LoP Mallikarjun Kharge, then they would have joined.

The AAP and the SAD-BSP combine are pitted against the Congress in Punjab. All the parties are supporting farm agitation but differ in showing solidarity.

Earlier in the day, the opposition met at the office of the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and decided to continue with their demand of discussion on Pegasus snooping issue, farm laws and fuel price hike. The leaders also decided to join the farmers’ protest at Jantar Mantar.

Around 200 farmers have been camping at the Jantar Mantar for the ‘Kisan Sansad’ (farmers’ parliament) since July 22 when the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament began. This is an extension of the months-long agitation that they have been holding along the borders of Delhi seeking a repeal of three Central farm laws.

The farmers are protesting against the laws passed last year that allow businesses to freely trade farm produce outside, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of commodities for future sales, and set new rules for contract farming.

— IANS (inputs added)

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