Oppn leaders join farmers' protest at Jantar Mantar

Opposition MPs visit 'Kisan Parliament' at Jantar Mantar, witness no-confidence motion against Modi

Earlier in the day, Opposition MPs in both the Houses of Parliament raised slogans in support of farmers

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with opposition leaders during a protest march to attend the farmers protest at Jantar Mantar, during the Monsoon Session of Parliament in New Delhi, Friday, August 6, 2021. Credit: PTI Photo

Rahul Gandhi and other senior Opposition MPs on Friday visited farmers' protest in the national capital and witnessed the "historic" 'Kisan Parliament' where the agitators moved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not repealing the contentious farm laws.

Opposition leaders from 14 parties drove to Jantar Mantar, where the farmers are holding 'Kisan Parliament' since July 22 as part of their protest, from Parliament after Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day following protests over farmers' issue and Pegasus.

The decision to visit the protesters was taken at a meeting of Opposition floor leaders chaired by Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and attended by Rahul, DMK's T R Baalu, RJD's Manoj K Jha, CPI(M)'s Elamaram Kareem, CPI's Binoy Viswam, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut and RSP's NK Premachandran among others.

Interestingly, Trinamool Congress and AAP, which attended the morning meeting of Opposition floor managers, did not join the joint programme. Three Trinamool MPs visited the protest site earlier in the day. BSP was also absent.

The MPs who reached Jantar Mantar sat in the "Visitors' Gallery" and witnessed the proceedings of 'Kisan Parliament' and the moving of the no-confidence motion against the Modi government.

While none of the leaders addressed the farmers, Rahul told reporters, "we all have come here to convey our full support to the protesting farmers and their demand for repeal of the three black laws. You all know what is happening in Parliament. We want Pegasus to be discussed. They are not allowing it. Narendra Modi has intercepted every Indian's phone."

Premachandran said the Opposition MPs had a first hand knowledge of what the peasantry thinks about the issues and were witness to a "historic parallel Parliament".

Read | RS adjourned for the day amid opposition protests

"The Indian Parliament is not functioning because the government is not allowing discussions. They have a hegemonic approach. That is why this parallel Parliament has a historical value. The MPs sat in the Visitors' Gallery of the Kisan Parliament and witnessed the moving of the no-confidence motion against Modi," the RSP MP told DH.

Kharge said the entire opposition stands in solidarity with the 'annadatas' (providers of food) and fully endorse their demand of withdrawing the "anti-farmer" laws.

Besides Rahul, those who went to Jantar Mantar included Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Kareem, Viswam, Jha, Premachandran and Raut among others.

Asked about the protest, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, "if the Opposition is really concerned about farmers, then the government is ready to discuss the issues in both Houses. Why is the Opposition not ready to talk? This shows they just want to be in the media's limelight."

Earlier in the day, Opposition MPs in both the Houses of Parliament raised slogans in support of farmers while demanding an immediate discussion on the Pegasus episode.