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Vegetable vendors tell Rahul Gandhi that eliminating middlemen is the way to curb price rise; Congress opposed Farm Bills which did that

The three 2020 Agricultural Bills had specifically sought to remove middlemen from agriculture, which Congress had vehemently opposed. 

Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi on August 7, Monday shared a video of his recent visit to the Azadpur Mandi where he met some vegetable and fruit vendors as well as traders.

The caption of his Tweet read in Hindi which roughly translates to, “Why is there a market slowdown? To find out, speak with the farmers, businesspeople, and labourers at Azadpur Mandi! The work Jatashankar does has prevented him from visiting his family or returning home for more than a year. It will be harder to survive in this inflation even if he goes to work and misses a day of work because the money would be taken away from him. As a result of the loss, a shopkeeper also claimed that he must go to bed hungry two to three evenings every week. The administration is not even paying attention to the poor of the nation’s problems, which are far from being resolved! The poor’s tears will be washed away, time will change, and India will unify,” the Gandhi scion tweeted.

This was a video from his visit to the Azadpur Mandi on August 1, Tuesday, days after he met some farmers planting paddy in their fields in Haryana’s Sonipat district and met some women farm labourers, whom he later invited over to his mother’s residence as part of his ongoing farce to reconnect with the masses.

In a 6.51-second video shared on Rahul Gandhi’s official YouTube channel, the Congress MP is seen roaming around the bustling Azadpur Mandi and mingling with various vendors and traders, inquiring about the vendors’ monthly income and living conditions, drinking tea with them, shaking hands, and exchanging pleasantries with those gathered around.

As apparent in the video, Rahul Gandhi made an effort to casually bring up topics like the impact of GST and the rising price of tomatoes every now and then in an effort to criticise the central government and highlight how the poor have been suffering and ignored under the current ruling dispensation.

His desperate attempts to fault the Centre for rising inflation and position himself as the ‘messiah’ of the poor were very well received throughout the entire video. However, the senior Congress leader was completely taken off guard when the vendors reminded the Gandhi scion how eliminating middlemen is the only solution to curb price rises and tackle inflation.

At around 5.25 seconds into the video, a vendor is heard telling Rahul Gandhi, “What happens here is it changes five hands before it reaches the public. If we directly buy from the farmers, then it won’t be so expensive. Now what’s happening is that these big companies are procuring from the farmers, how can poor people like us compete with them,” the vendor laments.

Popular Twitter user Ankur Singh shared the particular clip from the video.

This conversation, indeed, brings back the memories of the hypocritical stance Congress had maintained against the three Agricultural Bills that specifically sought to remove middlemen from agriculture. 

Calling it the ‘black laws’ of the Modi government, the Gandhi scion had not once but many times launched a scathing attack against the Modi Government for introducing three bills in the Parliament. In September 2020, the Gandhi scion tweeted that these ‘black laws’ of the Modi government are being introduced to economically exploit peasants and agricultural labourers.

SS of Rahul Gandhi’s Tweet

The Gandhi-scion claimed that the three bills, which aimed to reform agricultural marketing in the country, is nothing but a new form of ‘Zamindari’ and some friends of Prime Minister Modi will be the ‘Zamindars’ of New India.

“Agriculture market has been reduced, food security of the country has been erased,” said Rahul Gandhi.

Prior to that, Rahul Gandhi had taken to Twitter to launch a similar attack against the Modi government claiming that three bills rolled out by the centre were ‘a fatal attack’ on peasant and agricultural labourers.

SS of Rahul Gandhi’s Tweet

The Congress had, in fact, done everything in its capacity to fuel farmers’ protests that were started in November 2020 and only came to an end after the bill to roll back the three farm laws was passed in both houses of the parliament in November 2021.

Rahul Gandhi and his tractor rally on cushioned, custom-made sofas

For the unversed, Rahul Gandhi had become a subject of mockery when images surfaced in October 2020 showing him sitting on what appeared to be cushioned, custom-made sofas on a tractor during a rally in Punjab to protest against the centre’s controversial farm laws. Gandhi had taken out a series of tractor rallies named ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’ across the Congress-ruled northern state to protest against the three farm laws being seen as major reforms in the agriculture sector.

Despite everything being out in the open, the Congress party had shamelessly continued to exploit the agitation to gain political brownie points. According to reports that had emerged then, Rahul Gandhi had led a demonstration on December 24 (Thursday) 2020 from Vijay Chowk to Rashtrapati Bhavan in ‘farmers’ support. 

It is also notable that former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had been very vocal against the farm laws, alleging that govt is dismantling the APMC system. But the fact is that the state that he represents in Lok Sabha, Kerala, does not even have APMC markets. As PM Modi noted then, if the APMC system is so good, they should demand it in Kerala also. But displaying blatant hypocrisy, the opposition parties continued to support the farmer protests against the farm laws while themselves not implementing pro-farmer policies and schemes of the central govt.

Congress manifesto for General elections 2019 promised abolition of APMC Act

It is pertinent to note here that while Rahul Gandhi had emphatically expressed his support for the farmers and railed against the lack of MSP and APMC, the Congress manifesto from the 2019 General Assembly elections revealed a diametrically opposite stand of the party when it went to polls in 2019.

The Congress Manifesto for the 2019 General elections stated that it would abolish the APMC Act altogether. “Congress will repeal the Agriculture Produce Market Committees Act(APMC) and make agricultural produce—including exports and inter-state trade—free from all restrictions,” the manifesto read.

How the central government’s Farm Law had sought to remove middlemen from agriculture

The truth is that in a bid to introduce reforms in the agriculture sector, the central government introduced three bills: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which were passed in the monsoon session of the Parliament in 2020. The objective behind introducing these bills was to get rid of the inadequacies in the existing laws and mechanisms dealing with the sale of agricultural produce and ensure that farmers received a fair price for their produce.

Basically, to cut a long story short, the now-cancelled law aimed to give the farmers the option of selling directly to buyers without having to go through middlemen, which is exactly what the farmer was trying to explain to the Gandhi scion during his visit to the Azadpur Mandi.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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