Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on the Congress, alleging that it had betrayed the peasantry and used them as vote bank to further the interests of "one particular family". Modi said that despite toiling hard, farmers could not think of a comfortable life and that they had to live a life of despair and despondency for decades because of the policies of the Congress-led governments.
In a veiled attack on the Gandhi family, he said if the Congress had any worry, it was "only for one particular family" and how to make them comfortable. "I know why for years you could fetch only 10 per cent profit on the cost of inputs incurred by you. I know what was the interest behind this. Farmers are soul of our nation, they are our 'annadata', but the Congress always betrayed them and told lies to them.... The Congress used them as vote bank," the prime minister told a farmers' rally.
He said that the NDA government at the Centre was working towards changing this scenario. The rally was held to mark the "unprecedented" increase in Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Kharif crops announced by the Centre recently. The public meeting -- "Kisan Kalyan Rally" (farmers' welfare rally) -- was attended by a host of leaders from the SAD and the BJP including Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Addressing the farmers who had gathered here from different parts of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan, Modi said, "During the past four years, the way you have been filling granaries with record production, I bow before you. Be it wheat, paddy, cotton, sugar or pulses, all previous records are bring broken. Even now, new records would be set, this is being predicted." "My dear farmer brothers and sisters, you have always worked very hard irrespective of whatever the situation may have been. You have toiled very hard, but despite so much hard work, your life, which should have been happy, was of despair and despondency for decades.
"The reason for this was that over the past 70 years, for most of this period the party to which farmers gave responsibility to improve their living standard, did not give respect to farmer or the hard work put in by them. Only promises were made to the farmers and if they (Congress) had any worry, 70 years history says this, it was only for one particular family and how to make them comfortable," Modi said. "For farmers, they made several announcements, but the Congress saw only one dream -- how to benefit one particular family. Entire nation knows this truth very well," he said.
Modi, who spoke a few lines of his speech in Punjabi to strike a chord with the farmers of Punjab, said that be it defending borders and ensuring food security, Punjab has always inspired the country. He said Malout connects Punjab with Rajasthan and Haryana. "I am happy that farmers in large numbers from Rajasthan and Haryana have reached here. In a way, Malout is witnessing Kumbh of farmers today," he said.