Haryana Congress leader Vidya Devi has kicked off a controversy after she told party workers to donate money and liquor to rejuvenate the farmers’ protest against the three contentious farm laws.
Addressing a district executive committee meeting in Jind on Sunday, Vidya Devi said, “One should donate money, vegetables, ghee and liquor to further the farmers’ protests.” The meeting was attended by Congress MLA from Safidon Subhash Gangoli and other senior leaders.
When Congress leaders noticed that the event was being recorded by the media, they tried to stop Devi, but she continued with her speech and even justified why liquor should be donated.
“The protests attract every type of people who require different types of amenities. Cannot we give liquor to the sick. We have to strengthen the andolan (agitation) in a different way,” Vidya Devi said.
Announcing a march in Jind in support of the farmers, Devi said it would give the Congress a direction and new lease of life in the state. “We will organise a padayatra in Jind district that will attract large crowds and will give a new direction and lease of life to the Congress. We lost our existence after losing the elections. The andolan was revived as the farmers have a strong will. Now, we have to run it,” she said.
Reacting to the remarks by Devi, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said “such people don’t have anything to do with the movement”. “What is the use of liquor here? I don’t know why she’s making such comments. Such people don’t have anything to do with the movement. It’s wrong and shouldn’t be done. They can distribute whatever they want to, at their movement,” ANI quoted Tikait as saying.
BJP hits back at Congress over Vidya Devi’s remarks
Haryana Congress leaders, however, have distanced themselves from Vidya Devi’s remarks. The state unit of the BJP said the Congress, which has been pushed to the brink, was trying to exploit the farmers’ protests to save its existence.
“It is shameful that Congress is looking the ongoing farmer’s protest as an opportunity to make political gains. The Prime Minister has very rightly observed that Opposition parties like Congress were trying to misguide the farmers and are using them as vote bank and a political tool,” said senior Haryana BJP leader Jawahar Yadav.
Union Ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan and Hardeep Singh Puri too slammed the Congress after a video of Devi’s speech went viral. “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,” Puri said in a tweet.
Thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, have been agitating near the borders of the national capital for over two months now demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP).