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"We are with them..." says Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Farmers Protest

Kalaburgi (Karnataka): Congress National President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday, expressed strong support for the ongoing farmers' protest, declaring that the party stands firmly with them.

"We are supporting them (farmers). We are saying openly that their reasonable demands should be fulfilled. We are going to say this in our election manifesto also that a legal guarantee will be given. All crops cannot be covered but the essential crops should be done (providing MSP)," Mallikarjun Kharge said.

Reacting to the farmers' protest, Madhya Pradesh Congress president Jitu Patwari targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he promised to double the minimum support price of farmers during the 2014 elections but did not fulfil it.

"The Prime Minister of our country had said in the 2014 elections that what mistake has the farmer made? Why should they not get the benefit of their crop? He had said that the support price of crops should be doubled. Five years passed, nothing was done. There were movements in the country several times, talks were held with the government to implement the MSP but not implemented," Patwari said.

Earlier on February 20, Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the BJp for not implementing the recomendations of the MS Swaminathan report.

"In a country where bank loans worth Rs 14 lakh crore have been waived off, Rs 1.8 lakh crore corporate tax exemption has been given, why is even a little expenditure on farmers an eyesore? The guarantee of MSP will increase investment in agriculture, increase demand in rural India and farmers will also get confidence in growing different types of crops, which is a guarantee of the country's prosperity. Those who are spreading confusion on MSP are insulting Dr. Swaminathan and his dreams. With the guarantee of MSP, Indian farmers will not be a burden on the budget but will become the drivers of GDP growth" Rahul Gandhi had posted on X.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda said that the central government is ready to discuss all the issues raised by the Punjab farmers. He further invited the farmers for a fifth round of talks while urging them to find a solution through 'dialogue'.

Minister Munda is one among the team of union ministers holding talks with the farmer leaders, including Piyush Goyal and Nityanand Rai.

Chaos broke out at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border as police stopped the farmers using tear gas and water cannon. The farmers leaders were seen wearing protective gears including masks, safety glasses and headphones to defend the resistive measures undertaken by the security forces. In resistance to the protests, the forces used tear gas shells, water cannons apart from the multi-layer barricading deployed at various borders of Delhi.

Earlier in the day, the general secretary of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Sarwan Singh Pandher reiterated the demand for a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) and assured a peaceful approach going ahead. The farmer leader said that as the 'Dilli Chalo' resumed on Wednesday, only the leaders will be marching towards the national capital.

After the fourth round of talks ended in a stalemate, the farmers resumed their March on Wednesday morning. On February 19, the farmer leaders rejected the Centre's proposal on MSP purchase, saying "not in farmers' favour".

After the Centre brought a proposal to purchase crops at Minimum Support Price (MSP), farmers leaders rejected the proposal saying that it had nothing for them. 

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