Shameful statements


The rot in agriculture, despite the growth in production, goes deep. What was expected of the Government was a new agricultural policy, brought in after consultations with all stakeholders. If the protracted farmers' stir - in which scores have died while braving the bitter winter and lack of basic amenities at the protest sites - has made one thing clear, it is that our politicians do not care about anything beyond their own position and vote bank. What else can one construe from the two very shameful statements that have been made by the netas of two national parties in the span of a week? On February 14, Haryana Congress leader Vidya Devi kicked off a controversy when she told party workers to donate money and liquor to "rejuvenate the farmers' protest". Devi told a district executive committee meeting in Jind: "One should donate money, vegetables, ghee and liquor to further the farmers' protests." She went on to do further damage, both to the cause of the beleaguered farmers and to her party, by announcing a march in Jind in support of the growers, saying it would give the Congress a direction and new lease of life in the State. "We lost our existence after losing the elections. The andolan (protest) was revived as the farmers have a strong will. Now, we have to run it," she said. Obviously, the farmers, who have given their all till now to the protest that entered the 83rd day and have wisely tried their best to keep all political parties at bay, are enraged and mortified at the leader's statement.
While the red-faced Congress quickly distanced itself from Devi's remarks, the BJP has been equally quick to condemn the party for trying to exploit the farmers' protests for political gains. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted: "Is this what it has come down to? A damning video that exposes what the farmers' protests actually mean for the Congress party. Utterly shameful." But the BJP would be well advised to do a bit of introspection before it tries to take the moral high ground. After all, the party has done everything it could to discredit the movement. Right from saying that it was the handiwork of Khalistanis, Pakistanis, vested interests and other political parties out to get the ruling party, the BJP has done it all. It has also shown an absolutely callous attitude towards the deaths of farmers during the protest, with the Government admitting in Parliament that it has no data on these deaths. Thankfully, the annadata of the country is made of sterner stuff. One only wishes that, for once, the netas would stop thinking about their vested interests.

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