The Congress Monday asked states under its rule to enact legislations to bypass the three central farm-related laws that have triggered protests by farmers in some parts of the country.
The Congress is strongly opposed to the three central legislations, which were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday.
“Congress president has advised the Congress-ruled states to explore the possibilities to pass laws in their respective states under Article 254(2) of the Constitution which allows the state legislatures to pass a law to negate the anti-agriculture central laws encroaching upon state’s jurisdiction under the Constitution,” the party said in a statement.
Some states, especially the Congress-ruled Punjab, are witnessing protests by farmers against the new central laws.
“This (states passing laws negating central legislations) would enable the states to bypass the unacceptable anti-farmers’ provisions in the three draconian agricultural laws including the abolition of MSP and disruption of APMCs in Congress-ruled states,” the party said. “This would also alleviate the farmers from the grave injustice done by the Modi government and BJP,” the statement issued by AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the rules under Article 2454(2) allow a state legislature to enforce laws “repugnant to the parliament law” and that former finance minister Arun Jaitley had advised states to use it to bypass the Land Acquisition Law passed by the previous UPA regime.
Meanwhile, stepping up pressure, the Congress along with other opposition parties and farmers’ organisations held demonstrations against the new
farm laws across the country on Monday, with some protestors torching a tractor at the India Gate in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi.
Farmers in Punjab continued their ‘rail roko’ agitation for the fifth consecutive day and announced that the protest against the three farm laws will be extended till October 2. The protestors under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee have been squatting on rail tracks since September 24 at Jalandhar, Amritsar, Tanda, Mukerian and Ferozepur.
The Congress invoked Bhagat Singh, whose birth anniversary was being celebrated on Monday, during the protests, and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took part in a sit-in at the ancestral village of the freedom fighter. The Chief Minister said his government would approach the Supreme Court over the farm laws and warned that Pakistan’s ISI could exploit the anger over the new legislations to foment trouble in the border state.
Protests were also held in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Telangana, Gujarat, Goa, Odisha and Tamil Nadu where the DMK and its allies, including the Congress hit the streets.
Kerala was readying to approach the Supreme Court against the laws and Tamil Nadu government should follow suit and if this does not happen, “we (DMK) as an opposition party are ready to go to court on behalf of farmers and the people,” Stalin said, while addressing protestors in Kancheepuram district.