Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s tractor rally expressing solidarity with farmers agitating against the new agriculture laws entered Haryana amid high drama on Tuesday evening after the state government insisted only 100 people and three tractors could go through.
Congress leaders from Punjab who were accompanying Gandhi turned back and he was joined by party leaders from Haryana before proceeding, after it was briefly detained at the border by the state police earlier in the day.
When Gandhi — driving a tractor and accompanied by colleagues and party workers from Punjab after concluding his three-day tour of the state — reached the entry point, Haryana police erected barricades and stopped them saying the entire contingent could not be allowed in.
“They have stopped us on a bridge on the Haryana border. I’m not moving and am happy to wait here. 1 hour, 5 hours, 24 hours, 100 hours, 1,000 hours or 5,000 hours,” Gandhi said in a Twitter post.
Earlier, addressing a press conference at Patiala, Gandhi said the new laws would destroy farmers and that he would continue the fight.
When asked whether a weak Opposition had emboldened the Centre to take such measures, Gandhi said, “Give me free press and other key institutions and this government will not last long.”
The government cannot control farmers, the youth and small traders, whose interests it is destroying, he added.
“I work among these people, who are the hardest hit by (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s policies. I am a patient person and will wait till the people of India see the truth,” Gandhi said.
Asked about Uttar Pradesh police pushing him to the ground during a protest march the other day, Gandhi said, “The entire country is being pushed to a corner and being beaten up. What’s the big deal if I was pushed? It’s our job to protect the country, we have to stand with the farmers. The government is such that if we stand against them, we will be pushed. Dhakka kha lenge, lathi kha lenge (we will bear with the pushes and shoves, as well as the lathis).”
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