Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the entire Congress is behind farmers in their fight against the new agriculture-related laws and asserted his party will not go back by an inch on its stand.
Once a Congress-led government is formed at the Centre, the farm laws will be revoked and dumped into the 'dustbin', he said, addressing a gathering in the evening here on the conclusion of his 'Kheti Bachao Yatra' (save the farming march), which began from Punjab's Moga district on Sunday.
Gandhi kept Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the policies of his government at the centre of his attack.
"We want to assure you," he told the farmers, "we are with you and we will not go back by an inch.
"Entire Congress stands behind you, not just in Haryana or Punjab but in the whole country.
"When our government is formed, we will scrap these laws and dump them in the dustbin," he said.
Gandhi, who drove a tractor to the border with Haryana in Pehowa, Kurukshetra, after winding up his 'tractor rally' in Punjab's Patiala district, said the peasantry understands that Modi is 'clearing the path' for a few 'chosen' business houses as farmers, labourers 'cannot do Modi's marketing, which these corporates can', Gandhi alleged.
That is why farmers' land was being 'snatched' to be handed over to them, he claimed.
He said the Prime Minister is 'mistaken' if he feels the Indian farmer will be cowed down.
"Then he does not know the country's farmer. Modi ji, if you think farmers cannot stand up and raise their voice, you are mistaken. The Indian farmer is not scared of anyone. He knows how to fight, he will not go back by an inch," he said.
"But before our government is formed, we will continue to wage a struggle and raise farmers' voice and together we will oppose these laws," he said.
Earlier, addressing a public rally at Francewala village near Sanaur in Punjab's Patiala district, Gandhi said the fight against these legislations was not of farmers or labourers alone, but it was 'India's fight'.
If these measures are implemented, then farmers and labourers will become the 'slaves' of a few corporates, he said.
Gandhi had begun his yatra from Moga district on Sunday to protest against the laws.
The Congress leader claimed at the rally, where a number of farmers had arrived on tractors, that in one or two years their land will be taken over by a few 'chosen' corporates.
"Whether you want to believe or not, but do remember that Rahul and (Punjab Chief Minister) Amarinder Singh had once told you that your land will be snatched," he told the gathering.
"This is the time to take action. If you wait for six months or one year, then it will be of no use," Gandhi told them.
He said that the loss is not just of farmers, farm labourers or small traders, but of the entire country.
Gandhi said that if farmers are hit, which he claimed will become a reality with the implementation of the new laws, India's food security will be finished.
"If this happens, the entire country will once again become a slave," he alleged.
"This fight is not just of farmers and labourers, but this is India's fight," Gandhi said and told the farmers at the gathering that corporates will dictate terms and they will have to accept the price they want to give.
"When your land goes, they will build malls and flats. We do not want such things to happen. The Congress will not allow this to happen, I can give you guarantee that we will not go back even by an inch and carry on this fight. When our government will be formed we will revoke these laws," he said.
Gandhi attacked the Modi government, claiming that for the last six years, this government did nothing for the poor, weaker sections, farmers and small shopkeepers.
"For six years, they did nothing for farmers. Whatever they did was for the rich class," he said, claiming that the Centre waived Rs 3.50 lakh crore worth of loans of rich industrialists, but not loans of farmers.
He said in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, this government brought the three farm laws.
"What was the hurry, why not six months or one year later," Gandhi asked and claimed that it was done because the BJP-led central government thought that 'during COVID, farmers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan cannot stand and this is the right time to bring these measures'.
"But he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) does not know that farmers are strong and will fight against these laws," he said.
Gandhi said that if these laws were in favour of farmers, why did the government not debate these in Parliament and why discussion was not held.
The Minimum Support Price (MSP), the Food Corporation of India, the mandi (agricultural market) system are there to protect farmers, this entire structure helps give them security, but the Centre wants to break it, he claimed.
The food distribution system and the mandi system, are like a fort which protects farmers, Gandhi said.
The Congress leader said that he agrees that there are a few shortcomings in the present system and these needed to be corrected. But breaking the entire system, like the Centre is doing, is not the right way, he said.
The three-day Punjab 'Kheti Bachao Yatra' of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi culminated on Tuesday at the border along Haryana.
Punjab Chief Minister Singh, in his address, said that the regions of Dakala and Sanaur have always stood by his family and the Congress, and the people of these areas were now standing rock solid behind the party on the issue of the 'black' farm laws.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, he said farmers all over the country have risen up against the Modi regime.
"These oppressors will be decimated in the next elections," he said.
Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa was also present at the rally.
Two months ago, Punjab cabinet ministers had sought expulsion of Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Bajwa and Shamesher Singh Dullo from the Congress for their criticism of the state government over the hooch tragedy.
Prominent among others who were present on the occasion were All India Congress Committee general secretary and in-charge Punjab Affairs Harish Rawat, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, MPs Manish Tiwari, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Gurjit Singh Aujala were also present.