Taking forward his opposition against the land ordinance re-issued by Narendra Modi-led government at the centre and a deep concern towards prevailing agrarian crises, Congress party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi resumed his kisaan padyatra in Telangana. Launching his 15 kilometre padyatra or a foot march from Adilabad district in Telangana, Rahul Gandhi met the families of distressed farmers. For the last many months, the farmers as well as the residents of this region have been coping with severe drought conditions.
Starting his foot march early in the day on Friday, Gandhi met families of the farmers who had committed suicide due to an acute financial condition. Meeting the family members, he expressed solidarity and an assurance to take their cause forward. He also gave them cheques of 2 lakhs for financial support.
Many families of in Laxmanchanda, Rachapur and Vadial villages of Adilabad are living under distress after losing their bread winners, who committed suicides due to their inability to repay loans post the crop failure.
Addressing a large gathering of farmers and the local residents at Vadial village, where his padyatra ended, Rahul Gandhi attacked the TRS-run state government for Congress alleges the failure in helping out farmers and the agriculture sector in Telangana.
‘”Whenever there was a Congress party govt, and we saw that farmers were in distress, we helped them. Cong govt waived farm loans of Rs 70,000 crores. We increased agriculture credit to farmers by 700%”, he said.
Taking on Narendra Modi government on the issue of contentious Ordinance on land acquisition, he added, “Our Govt brought in a new Land Acquisition Bill so that you and your families benefit from the increase in prices of land…but when NDA came to power, they removed all those provisions that would have helped you”.
Only last year the state of Telangana was carved out from the greater state of Andhra Pradesh, after a long pending demand for the separate state, which often resulted in passionate agitations and violence on the streets. Though, the Congress party ceded to the demands for creating a separate state, they suffered a huge dent in their cadre strength and electoral fortunes. While it was wiped out in the remnant Andhra Pradesh, it performed below par in Telangana, where they expected a ‘vote of thanks’ form the people of newly elected state. The party which had held nearly 80% of the 42 parliamentary seats in united Andhra Pradesh since 2004 was reduced to mere rubble in single digit in 2014 general elections. Even in the state assembly elections, the Congress party was humbled by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in Telangana and drew blank in AP, which voted for Telagu Desam Party (TDP). TDP had managed to revive itself at the cost of Congress party after being on the sidelines for last 10 years in state and national politics.
While the party may keep off from the suggestion of their Vice President’s visit being political in nature, but they can’t deny that Rahul’s visit will boost the morale of workers to take on the current TRS-run dispensation over its failures at the ground level.
The political rivals too have begun to feel the jitters about the deepening agrarian crises. Just a day before Rahul Gandhi’s visit, Telangana government had sent its representative to meet those family members shortlisted to be visited by Gandhi. The state government has now extended financial help to the affected families. The ruling TRS has termed Congress leader’s padyatra as “politically motivated”, with no less than the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao giving a reaction.
“These Gandhis would come and go,” CM K Chandrasekhar Rao, told the press even as Rahul Gandhi was busy interacting with the farmer’s families.
Even before the visit of Rahul Gandhi, state level Congress party leaders have been alleging the state and central government’s failure in providing relief to the farmers as hundreds of farmers have committed suicide due to the deepening agrarian distress.
The principal opposition party has now increased an offensive against the state government’s alleged failure. Assuring an action, Congress party leader Raj Babbar said backing Gandhi’s kisaan padyatra, “Rahul Gandhi does what he says, no disparity between the two”.