Rahul leads Cong protest in support of agitating farmers

 Rahul Gandhi's tractor rally against farm laws allowed to enter Haryana after border drama

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi led the Congress's protest in the national capital in support of agitating farmers on Friday and said the opposition party will not relent till the three new farm laws are repealed.

He was accompanied by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Delhi Congress leaders at the protest outside the lieutenant governor's residence here as part of the party's countrywide agitation.

Addressing the gathering, Gandhi said the Congress will not step back till the government repeals the three new farm laws.

"These laws are not to help farmers but to finish them. These laws are aimed at helping corporates like Ambani and Adani instead. That is why we are standing in support of the farmers," he said.

"The BJP government will have to take these black laws back. Till the time these laws are repealed, the Congress party will not relent," Gandhi told the protesting Congressmen.

"The Narendra Modi government tried to take away the land of farmers earlier, when it brought the Land Acquisition Act, and the Congress had stopped it at that time. Now, the BJP and its two-three friends are once again attacking the farmers and have brought these farm laws," he said.

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra later joined Congress MPs and leaders from Punjab at Jantar Mantar, where they have been sitting on a "dharna" against the farm laws for 41 days.

"Prime Minister Modi does not respect farmers and wants to tire out those protesting against the Centre's agriculture laws," Gandhi said at Jantar Mantar.

The Congress took out protest marches at all state capitals in the country and gheraoed Raj Bhawans on Friday. It also protested against the rising fuel prices.

The opposition party observed the day as "Kisan Adhikar Diwas".

The protests came on a day the government held the ninth round of talks with leaders of farm unions to end the deadlock over their agitation but decided to meet them again on January 19.

A statement issued by the Congress said the "Kisan Adhikar Diwas" was observed under the aegis of the PCCs as "annadatas" (food-givers) are being misled and subjected to pointless filibuster by the government.

As part of this, thousands of Congress leaders and workers led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi protested before the Raj Niwas in Delhi, the party said.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal said water cannons were used against party workers in Chandigarh while they were trying to gherao the Punjab Raj Bhawan.

The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president and other leaders were arrested and detained by police when they were trying to march towards the Raj Bhawan in Lucknow, he said, adding that party leaders in Haryana, including the PCC president, took out a protest march and courted arrest.

Simultaneous protests were staged in 28 states and Union territories, including Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, Venugopal said.

The social media team of the Congress ran a campaign titled "Speak Up For Kisan Adhikar", through which party workers and leaders posted their videos and messages in solidarity with the protesting farmers.

The party leaders and workers again reiterated their resolve not to rest unless the three draconian laws are withdrawn, Venugopal said.

He said due to the festive occasion of Pongal and Makar Sankranti, the "Kisan Adhikar Diwas" will be observed in the remaining states on Saturday and Sunday.

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