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Congress criticises farm bills, sets tone for campaign

Express News Service

MANDYA: A farmers rally by the Congress against the farm bills on Saturday set the tone for the bypolls with many leaders attacking the BJP leadership at the Centre and the State. The Congress leaders assured the gathering that they would repeal the bills if voted to power. Knowing that the two constituencies — Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira — going to the polls and Mandya region have a significant Vokkaliga population which is traditionally dependent on agriculture, the Congress alleged that the Centre wanted to destroy the agriculture sector to help their capitalist friends. Both the Karnataka government and the Centre wanted to destroy the agro economy of this country and bring the farmers to streets, charged AICC General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“The Congress has stopped the NDA government’s designs to weaken farmers’ rights on compensation for land- losers introduced by the previous UPA government,” he said. He feared that the small and marginal farmers would be the worst affected if APMCs were closed as they would have no choice but to sell their produce to the corporates.

The minimum support price will come to an end once the APMCs are closed, he alleged. Former CM and Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah said, “Congress will definitely come back to power both at the Centre and states and will repeal the farm bills, restore the Land Reforms Act and make necessary amendments to the APMC Act.” Stating that the states are not subordinate to the Centre, he accused Prime Minister Modi of bulldozing his agenda in the guise of cooperative federalism.

He accused the BJP government in the state of being involved in multicrore corruption to bring amendment to the Land Reforms Act and benefit housing societies. He said the government which may again table the AMPC Act and the Land Reforms bills in the Council to get them passed through voice vote should know that it cannot win the voice of the public.

KPCC president D K Shivakumar said that the Congress has roped in farmers organisations and others to restore the self-respect of the farming community that has fed the country, protected land and contributed to the economy. Farmer leader Vasu, former ministers S R Patil, Krishne Byregowda and Chaluvarayaswamy hit out at the BJP and its policies.

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