Leaders of opposition parties on Friday came together to support thousands of farmers from across the country who have gathered to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, Loktantrik Janata Dal mentor Sharad Yadav and CPI leader D Raja at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Gandhi said the leaders of opposition parties stand united with farmers in ensuring their good future and called for a farm loan waiver, asserting that peasants are asking for what is due to them and not a "free gift".
"The farmers of India are not asking for a free gift, they are only asking for their rights and what is due to them. The prime minister said he will provide remunerative prices to farmers, bonus and increased MSP, but the situation today is you pay for insurance and it goes into the pocket of Anil Ambani. Farmers cannot even decide which company's insurance to buy," he said.
"The country has been divided between Ambani and Adani. But your farm loan waiver does not happen, you don't get the right prices and hollow speeches are made," he went on to add.
He trained his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that if Rs 30,000 crore can be given to Anil Ambani, an apparent reference to the Rafale fighter jet deal, why can't loans of farmers be waived.
"Farmers are not asking Anil Ambani's aircraft from Modi ji, but India's farmers are saying that if Anil Ambani can be given Air Force's money of Rs 30,000 crore, if you can give 3.5 lakh crore to your 15 friends, then for our hard work, sweat and blood, why cannot our farm loans be waived," he said.
Trying to project the event as a show of strength of the opposition parties, he said, "We may have different ideologies, but for the future of the farmers and the youth, we are all standing together on one stage. We want to tell Modi ji and the BJP that if we need to change the laws, change the chief ministers or even the prime minister, we do that for the sake of future of farmers. We will not budge even an inch, you may do whatever you want."
He said the "voice being raised here will go across to every state -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telanagana, Rajasthan and in every state this voice will be raised. This is the voice of India's farmers, youth and this cannot be silenced".
Gandhi said there are two big issues before the country now, one of farmers' future and the other employment of youth.
Kejriwal alleged that Modi has "stabbed farmers in the back" by not fulfilling the promises made to them and warned him that they would "wreak havoc" in 2019 general elections if those promises are not kept.
In his address at the venue, Kejriwal claimed that the Centre had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying it would not implement the M S Swaminathan Commission report.
"The government had made a number of promises to farmers in the last election (2014), but it has not fulfilled those promises. By not implementing the Swaminathan Commission report, Modi ji has stabbed the farmers in the back," he alleged.
He said the Union government should implement the report in five months.
"The affidavit filed in the court should be withdrawn and the report should be implemented, kisan agle election mey qayamat dhah denge (otherwise, farmers would wreak havoc in 2019 elections)," he said.
"The debt of farmers should be waived and they should get the full price for their produce. Farmers are not asking for alms, they are demanding their right. If farmers get the full price of their produce, they would not come back to ask for waiving their loans," he said.
Kejriwal said though the government assigns a Minimum Support Price, no one actually buys their produce at that rate.
"The Fasal Beema Yojna is fraud and is cheating farmers. The insurance companies withdraw money from farmers without their permission and thousands of crores have been withdrawn in this manner. When farmers lose their produce, these companies impose condition that compensation would be given only if 70 per cent of the produce has been destroyed," he claimed.
"This insurance scheme should be stopped as it is BJP's daka (dacoity) yojana and instead kisan muawza yojna (farmers compensation scheme) must be brought in to give them the right compensation. A country whose farmers are starving can never witness development," he said.
Kejriwal demanded that farmers be compensated within two months if their produce is destroyed.
He alleged that the prime minister was showing concern only for corporates and was not worried about the agrarian distress. "If you do not address their (farmers') concerns, then next time ask for votes also from Adani and Ambani, do not ask farmers to vote for you," Kejriwal said.
Modi has said he was not afraid of being seen with industrialists who are playing a key role in the nation's development as his "intentions" are clear.