'Malcious recalling of Bengal Chief Secretary is death knell for federalism': Congress attacks Modi government

JIND: Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala on Wednesday condemned Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar’s statement over talks with agitating farmers, saying it showed the face of a dispensation that is “arrogant” and “power-drunk”.

Tomar had on Tuesday told reporters in Gwalior that the government is ready to talk with the agitating farmers on options other than the repeal of the Centre’s three farm laws.

This statement reflects the face of an “arrogant” and a “power-drunk” government, which rejects the demands of farmers agitating for months for the rollback of the farm laws, Surjewala told reporters after appearing as a counsel in connection with the bail plea of a farmer leader, Dr Dalbir Singh.

Farmers have been agitating on Delhi borders against the Centre’s three new farm laws since November last year.

“This government cannot see 62 crore farmers of this country because it is playing in the lap of a few capitalists,” Surjewala alleged.

Hitting out at Tomar, Surjewala said, “He says if farmers want they can talk but black farm laws will not be withdrawn. Then on what issue will the talks take place?” “It is like inviting someone over for lunch and at the same time telling him no food will be served there,” he said, adding that farmers are not begging but are seeking their rights.

“The government has forgotten that it came to power by making tall promises to farmers. And what are farmers asking for, they are only seeking justice and demanding what is their right. The government must withdraw the black farm laws,” he said.

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Surjewala said that the Narendra Modi government wants to hand over the entire agriculture business to a few corporates.

Referring to the case in which he argued before the sessions court here, Surjewala said a sedition case was registered against Dalbir Singh in February 2017 and last month, another case was slapped against him.

“The applicant is being punished for being a farmer activist protesting against the three anti-agrarian laws by the ruling government,” he said, adding the arrest in a FIR after four years and three months “itself proves the malice and malafide of the state.”

In the earlier case, Surjewala said that “the applicant neither received any notice nor any intimation but it is only after registration of the second FIR on May 24 that the government and the police revived the earlier FIR as a ploy to arrest the applicant”.

“Arresting the farmer leader more than four years after registration of a case, slapping them with sedition and other charges is grave injustice. I argued that both cases are illegitimate and Dalbir should be released on bail. The court has reserved the judgment,” Surjewala said.

In the fresh FIR, Dalbir Singh is accused of making some objectionable comments against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Referring to the recent incidents involving farmers’ protests in Hisar and Tohana, the Congress leader said the ruling dispensation was deliberately provoking farmers so that it gets a chance to lathicharge, lob tear gas shells, use force against them and put them behind the bars.

He said when polls come, people will teach a lesson to the government, which is “insensitive” and “apathetic” towards the farmers.