New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) The Congress on Wednesday asserted that the only way to end the ongoing farmers' protest is to withdraw the three contentious farm laws, and demanded Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's resignation over what it said was his 'egoistic' stance on the issue.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed support for the farmers who have been agitating against the Centre's farm laws for over six months now, and said they have died fearlessly defending their farms and the country.
'Farmers have died while defending their farms and the country. And yet the farmers continue to be fearless and true,' he said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag '#500DeathsAtFarmersProtest'.
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the protesting farmers are not begging but are seeking their rights and the government should shed its stubbornness and agree to their demands.
'The farmers are not begging and don't want alms, they want justice. Farmers don't want ego, they want their rights. Come down from the throne of pride, give up your stubbornness and the only way is to withdraw the three black laws,' he said on Twitter.
The Opposition party's attack came over the remarks of Tomar that if the farmers' organisations are ready to discuss options other than the repeal of new agriculture laws, then the government is ready to talk with them.
Later in the day, Tomar took a swipe at Gandhi and said he would not like to respond to his remarks as even his own party does not take it seriously.
'As far as Rahul Gandhi's tweet is concerned, even the Congress does not take it seriously and I don't think there is a need for me to respond to that,' he said.
At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, 'Mr. Tomar farmers do not want to come and discuss the weather with you. They want to come and discuss laws which are against them.' 'But you, your prime minister and your government are so vehemently opposed to Indian farmers that you don't want to talk about the one issue that is causing heartburn,' Shrinate said.
'You don't want to talk about the one issue that threatens their livelihood, the one issue because of which 600 farmers have been martyred, and it has been six months they have been sitting on the borders to Delhi, a stone's throw distance from the prime minister's residence ' she said.
The Congress leader claimed that 62 crore farmers are opposed to the farm laws.
They want these laws to be taken back and new laws be made which will be beneficial and made in consensus with the farmers, Shrinate said.
'You (the government) don't seem to be willing to give up the love that you have for 2-3 big business houses in whose pocket you want to put the Rs 25 lakh crore agri business,' she alleged.
'We demand the resignation and the removal of the agriculture minister, somebody so egoistic and somebody so oblivious to the plight of Indian farmers, has no business being a part of the Indian government,' she said.
Shrinate said that it is time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 'walk the talk' on farmers' welfare.
Farmers from various parts of the country are protesting at Delhi borders against the three farm laws brought by the Centre last year, alleging that the legislations will hamper farming. PTI ASK SKC SMN SMN