Never in country’s history had to farmers protest so long for their demands: Gehlot

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Jaipur, Jan 26 (PTI) Continuing his attack against the Centre over the new farm laws, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said it has never happened in the history of the country that the farmers had to protest so long to get their demands fulfilled.

He said the central government has insulted the farmers and claimed that the process adopted while enacting the fresh legislations was faulty since the beginning.

“No one is ready to listen to farmers and to understand their sentiments, which is very unfortunate. The farmers have been agitating for over two months in the cold, taking out tractor rallies. This is an unfortunate situation and not in the country's interest,” Gehlot told reporters after attending the Republic Day function at the secretariat here.

He asked whether in a democracy does a government not change its decisions.

“Changing or withdrawing decisions given public sentiments shows a big heart,” the chief minister said.

Gehlot said there are reports of deaths of about 150 people during the ongoing farmers’ agitation but the government was not bothered.

“Demands can be made by any section of the society and there can be a way out. But the process adopted while enacting the farm laws was faulty since the beginning. In Parliament too, the opposition was not heard,” he said.

“The basic reason for this situation is distrust,” he added.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, demanding that they be repealed.

When asked if the central government was afraid of Congress getting the credit for the agitation, Gehlot said neither the farmers' unions nor the party want to politicise the movement.

“It is the duty of the opposition parties to show unity,” he added.

Gehlot claimed that a situation has arisen in the country where all institutions like judiciary, CBI, income tax and enforcement directorate are under pressure.

“Conspiracies are made to topple elected governments. It happened in Goa, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh but they failed in Rajasthan as the public was united,” he said.

The chief minister said disagreements should be respected in a democracy.

He also targeted the opposition BJP in Rajasthan and claimed that he has never seen such factionalism in the party before.

Targeting BJP state president Satish Poonia, leader of opposition Gulabchand Kataria and deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore, Gehlot alleged that their statements are the part of a process to establish themselves in the party.

“I have never seen the kind of infighting which is there in the BJP today. All are competing with each other and it is visible,” he said.

The chief minister also appealed to the protesting farmers to maintain peace and not resort to violence.

“The farmers' movement has been peaceful till now. There is an appeal to the farmers to maintain peace and not to commit violence. Violence has no place in a democracy,” he tweeted.

He said the violence will be a success of the forces which are trying to make the farmers’ movement unsuccessful. PTI SDA AQS AQS