New Delhi, Sep 28 (PTI) The BJP on Monday blasted the Congress over the burning of a tractor near India Gate here, allegedly by opposition party workers, saying it has 'shamed' the country with its 'drama' aimed at publicity and 'misleading' farmers.
Senior party leaders, including Union ministers, hit out at the Congress with Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar condemning the incident and accusing the opposition of misleading farmers. 'The Congress shamed the country today. Bringing tractor in a truck and then burning it at India Gate is a drama enacted by the Congress and we condemn it. The party has been trying to do politics in the name of farmers, and it has been unmasked. It has enacted a drama for publicity,' he told reporters. Around 15-20 people set a tractor on fire at India Gate on Monday morning, police said.
Five people said to be members of the Punjab Youth Congress have been detained, they said.
The incident comes amid protests by farmers and opposition parties across the country over the contentious farm legislations that were passed by Parliament last week.
BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav dubbed the Congress as 'anti-farmers', saying farmers venerate their farm equipment and will not set tractors on fire. This burning of tractors by the Congress and other opposition parties in the name of farmers is shameful, he said, adding that they should not use India's food producers for politics.
Another Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat took a swipe at the opposition party, saying it is protesting against farmers' freedom in the name of Bhagat Singh, whose birth anniversary fell on Monday, by burning a tractor. 'Its conspiracy has been unmasked,' he said. Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president Tejasvi Surya alleged that youth Congress workers were involved in burning the tractor. 'Our farmers worship tools they use for farming. No real farmer ever burns his tractor. If at all the Youth Congress wanted to show their support to farmers, they could have donated the tractor to a poor farmer instead of burning it. But how can they? Destroying is all they know,' he said in a statement. 'In the guise of a protest against the government's reforms for farmers, it is sad that the youth Congress is destroying property,' Surya, Member of Parliament from Bengaluru South, said. Accusing the opposition party of misleading farmers, Javadekar said its manifesto had promised doing what the Modi government has done with its farm sector reform bills, and added that former prime minister Manmohan Singh had also spoken similarly on the issue.
'Now, the Congress is trying to mislead farmers by speaking in a different voice. But it will not succeed,' he said, noting that the minimum support price and APMC mechanism is continuing.
This is why the Congress is getting increasingly 'disconnected' with people, he said. The Congress and several other opposition parties have been protesting against three farm sector laws enacted by the Modi government, alleging these are 'anti-farmer measures' and will 'destroy' the agriculture sector.
The government has, however, asserted that the new laws will free farmers from the clutches of middleman and allow them to sell their produce anywhere they want at a remunerative price. Surya said farmers now enjoy the full freedom to sell their produce to whoever offering them the best price. They will no longer be restrained by middlemen, he said. PTI KR KJ KJ KJ