“This government is for a few crony capitalists and has no interest in protecting the farmers, the poor man, and labourers,” said Rahul Gandhi targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Samvaad Yatra in Vidarbha.
The region has suffered high number of farmer’s suicide due to debts and crops losses after the strong spell of unseasonal rains in Febraury and March this year.
This is the first leg of two-month long padyatra where Rahul Gandhi is expected to cover several states and take stock of the depressing agriculture situation. Politically as well, Gandhi’s public outreach plan is aimed at galvanising the party cadres and broadening the party base among farming communities.
Keeping his target firm on the BJP governments at the centre and in the state, he added “The situation is very disturbing. There is a feeling of abandonment. The role of the Government is to give a helping hand to the people when they suffer. But the governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre have let them down”.
The Congress party’s vice-president has been aggressively raising the issue of farmer’s distress and agrarian crisis in and outside the Parliament. Ever since he has returned from his ‘leave of absence’, the 44-year old leader has been taking on BJP-led NDA government of ignoring interest of the farmers and terming a contentious Ordinance on Land Acquisition as ‘anti-farmer’ and ‘anti-poor’.
He started his padyatra early on Thursday morning 7:00 am from Gunji village in Amravati division of Vidarbha region. In his 15 kilometre long padyatra, he will be interacting with the farmers and their families over 5 villages of the region.
Further he is expected to tour a number of districts in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Telangana in his ‘kisaan padyatra‘.
On Wednesday, he had once again questioned the government on the floor of Lok Sabha over agrarian crisis. Accusing the NDA Union government of neglecting farmers across the country, he had mentioned about the food grains lying in mandi with farmers getting bare minimum help from the government.
“Your government says ‘Make in India’ hona chahiye… hamaari sarkaar, aapki Sarkar, but not farmers’ Sarkar. Indian Prime Minister is in the country for some time. He should visit Punjab too and listen to farmers. Does farmer not do ‘Make in India’?” Gandhi had said taking on Narendra Modi government over its ambitious ‘Make in India’ manufacturing initiative.
Earlier on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi took his fight against the contentious Ordinance on Land Acquisition to Punjab. Travelling in a general compartment of Sachkhand Express he vowed to raise voice for farmers on every platform as he met many locals and interacted with the fellow passengers.
Ever since his return, he has made several interventions in Lok Sabha over the issue of farmers and net neutrality, addressed a massive ‘kisan’ rally at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, trekked to Kedarnath shrine to pay homage to the victims of 2013 flash floods, travelled general compartment to Punjab taking stock of the plight of the farmers and now he has kick-started his kisaan padyatra.
He is further expected to travel Bundelkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The Congress Vice President had in the past also taken up the issue of Bundelkhand, ensuring a package for the region during UPA rule. Eastern Uttar Pradesh also assumes significance as it borders Bihar where polls are scheduled later this year.