Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday hit out at the Congress for opposing farm laws, saying it has got “restless” as farmers have been given the freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
She accused the Congress of doing nothing for decades to ensure that farmers get the payment of their crop directly into their bank accounts.
Interacting with the media of Bathinda through a virtual conference, she claimed the Modi government was committed to the progress of farmers and has assured a record MSP payment to wheat growers in the past five years.
The Congress got “restless” as the Modi government in the last parliament session gave farmers the freedom to sell their crop in any city or village, to any person or organization, she said.
“When it was ensured in the Bills that farmers will have to be paid for their crop within three days, the Congress stood against them,” she claimed.
“When it was ensured in the Bills that farmers' land can neither be sold or mortgaged, the Congress got disturbed,” she added.
In an apparent reference to a controversial land deal in Haryana in which Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra was allegedly involved, Irani said the party, whose "Rashtriya Damad" had allegedly looted farmers of their land, never wanted that their land remains protected under any law.
The Union textiles minister alleged that the Congress captured power years after years by giving “false hopes” to farmers.
The Congress looted farmers in Rajasthan, Haryana, and Amethi and then gave their land to its “Damad”, she alleged.
Irani also claimed that the Modi government has paid Rs 3 lakh crore as wheat MSP to farmers in the past five years.
The Modi government ensured the transfer of money directly into bank accounts of farmers under the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, she said.
The Congress, which remained in power at the Centre for over six decades, should answer farmers why it could not develop such a system, she said.
Irani also attacked the Congress and other opposition parties for creating a ruckus during the passage of the farm legislation in the Rajya Sabha.
Without taking names, the minister said Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi were absent from the Lok Sabha when a discussion was taking place on the Farm Bills.
Both leaders were reportedly away in connection with the Congress president’s medical check-up at the time of the discussion in the Lok Sabha.
Irani further alleged that the ruling Congress in Punjab has created a "Gunda raj" and no one will tolerate this.
Meanwhile, in a virtual conference with the minister, Arhtiyas (commission agents) demanded that they continue to get their commission.
“There is an atmosphere of fear among Arhtiyas in Punjab. They want to know whether they will get commission in coming days or not ,” said one of them, adding that the state had around 27,000 Arhtiyas.
A commission agent also objected to being called a middleman.
The minister assured them that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act will stay.
Meanwhile, activists of the Aam Aadmi Party held a protest outside the virtual conference venue in Bathinda. They raised slogans against the BJP-led Union government.