Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led a rally of around 200 tractors in Kerala's Wayanad today to protest against the centre's farm laws and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the farmers' protests in the country.
"We have pop stars commenting on situation of the farmers, but not the Prime Minister," the Congress leader, who reached his parliamentary constituency Wayanad ahead of the upcoming Kerala assembly elections, said after the six-km long tractor rally between Thrikkaipatta to Muttil.
"I have said this in the Parliament -- Hum do, Hamare do (we two, and two of ours). Two people in the government, partnering with two people outside the government. Idea is very simple that these four people must control the Indian agriculture. Their idea is that farmers must sell their produce directly to these businesses," Mr Gandhi said.
In Kerala, the ruling Left government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front have strongly opposed the centre's new farm laws.
However, Rahul Gandhi hit out at the ruling party while criticising the draft notification of the centre on the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) -- a buffer zone around protected areas like Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
"I also wish to raise the issue of a buffer zone which is going to cause tremendous hardships to people here. I wrote to the central government and asked questions in the parliament (over the issue). We were shocked when the Union minister said that the Kerala government has recommended to do so. I am also told that the centre is willing to reconsider the draft, if the state government changes its position," the Wayanad MP said.
As protests emerged in Wayanad over the draft ESZ, Chief Minister Vijayan earlier this month wrote a letter to PM Modi seeking his intervention.
"The state government, after considering the genuine concerns of the people living in the nearby areas of the wildlife sanctuary, submitted an amended proposal for the draft notification. According to this amended proposal for draft notification, the extent of the eco-sensitive zone measures to 88.2 sqkm. The present draft notification issued by MoEFCC has notified 118.59sqkm around Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone," Mr Vijayan told the PM.