Chandigarh, Sep 28 (PTI) Haryana's main opposition Congress held a protest against the agriculture-related new laws outside the party's state headquarters here on Monday, with its leaders claiming these legislations will make 'Atma Nirbhar' farmers 'dependent' and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.
The Congress workers also raised slogans against the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Haryana.
Carrying placards, some of which read 'Annadata ki suno pukar, bandh karo atyachar (Listen to farmers, end their oppression)', the party workers demanded that the 'black laws', which are 'anti-farmers', be withdrawn.
A separate protest was also held by the Chandigarh unit of the Congress, which led by its president Pradeep Chhabra, took out a tractor rally to protest against the 'draconian farm bills'.
A delegation comprising Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, party's state affairs incharge Vivek Bansal, other senior leaders including Kiran Choudhary and Capt Ajay Singh Yadav submitted a memorandum on the farm-related laws issue to Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya which was addressed to the President.
Earlier, a meeting was held at the Congress' state headquarters here in which senior leaders including Selja, Bansal, Choudhary, Ajay Singh Yadav and others addressed the party workers.
After the meeting, the procession of party leaders and workers led by Kumari Selja, who were to march towards the Raj Bhawan, was stopped by the Chandigarh police at a short distance from the Congress office and only six leaders were allowed to proceed to present the memorandum to the Governor.
A number of workers who tried to march were rounded up by the police and taken into preventive custody before being released later.
The Congress is protesting against the new farm laws across the country. After submitting the memorandum, Hooda, the Leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, said, 'We have demanded these black laws should be scrapped or amendments should be brought making a provision which will guarantee that farmers will get the minimum support price for crops outside the mandis as well'. 'A provision should be made that anyone who purchases below MSP will invite punishment as per law,' he said.
Congress MLA Varun Chaudhary said these laws 'will make Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) farmers dependent on big corporates, ultimately leading to exploitation at their hands once they are at their mercy'.
Addressing the party workers, Selja said the Congress took a strong stand right from the day when these ordinances were brought in. She said farmers of Haryana and Punjab meet the food needs of the country, but the BJP-led government through these laws 'wants to dismantle' the mandi system and the MSP mechanism.
'They passed these three bills in the Parliament in an unconstitutional manner without listening to the voice of the Opposition. They ignored the concerns of farmers, who are still out on roads in protest against these black laws,' Selja alleged.
Selja said the abolition of APMC Act in Bihar in 2007 has led to a 'disastrous' situation and the farmers have been reduced to labourers and most of them are going to other states to work as farm-hands, 'yet the government did not learn from this experience'.
She said the Congress stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the farmers and will continue to raise their voice.
Addressing the meeting, Bansal exhorted the party rank and file to stand as one to lodge a strong protest against the three 'black Acts' while Kiran Chaudhary dubbed these farm bills 'as death warrants for farmers'.
The Congress' Chandigarh unit, which demanded that these laws should be withdrawn, also submitted to Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore a memorandum on the issue addressed to the President.
Chhabra alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre had taken a number of 'anti-people' decisions and now 'they have targeted the farmers, who are the backbone of our country'.
He claimed these laws 'favour the big corporates and are against the interests of farmers, especially small and medium farmers'.
The memorandum submitted by the Haryana Congress quoted the country's first prime minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, who had once said, 'Everything else can wait, but not agriculture'.
The three 'black Acts will endanger the existence of the farmers, labourers and 'Arhitiyas' (Commission agents),' the memorandum said. PTI SUN VSD CK