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Smriti Irani Hits Out at Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha, Says He is Spreading Lies About Budget

New Delhi: Textiles Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday launched a scathing attack in Lok Sabha on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of spreading lies and saying he may not accept the budget, but people will. Making an intervention in the general discussion on the Union Budget in Lok Sabha, Irani said that she did not expect Gandhi to support a budget which intended to promote the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat’ drive and unite the country.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi had alleged that the three new farm laws would damage the country’s food security system as also “break the spine of farmers” and said that the country was being run by only four people with a ‘Hum do, Hamare do’ approach. In a dramatic move, Gandhi also led his party members and those from the TMC and the DMK to observe a two-minute silence by standing to mourn the death of farmers during the ongoing agitation against the laws.

Claiming that “200 farmers” have died during protests, he said he was doing this as the government has not paid tributes to them. The BJP fielded Irani, who had defeated Gandhi in Amethi during the Lok Sabha elections, to respond to the Congress leader.

Without naming Gandhi, Irani wondered how could someone construct a building on the edifice of lies and walk away after showing his back. He may not accept the budget, but people will accept the budget which is a budget to unite people and not to break the nation, Irani said amid thumping of desks by BJP members.

She accused the Congress of spreading lies about the MSP, which the government has repeatedly said would continue. Irani wanted to know what the Congress governments did to mitigate the hardships of farmers, especially farmers of Amethi, the traditional parliamentary constituency of the Gandhis.

If someone has done something for the people of Amethi, may it be constructing toilets, building roads or other public facilities, it was (Prime Minister) Narendra Damodardas Modi, she said and emphasised it repeatedly during her speech. The minister said that it was the Modi government which gave free ration to 80 crore people during the lockdown period. Of these 3.18 lakh people of Amethi got free ration, she added.

Irani said that Amethi lacked basic facilities like good hospitals, roads and official buildings, and the Congress government did nothing for years. Many of these projects have been undertaken by the Modi government, she said. On the accusation of the Congress that farmers will lose their land because of the three farm laws, she said that it was a Congress-backed trust which took away the land belonging to farmers in Amethi.

Speaking during the discussion, RLP member Hanuman Beniwal urged the government to withdraw the three farm laws and provide legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP). Farmers have a lot of hope from the Modi government and it should respond positively to the demands of farmers who are agitating on the borders of Delhi, he added.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh demanding the rollback of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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