Rahul Gandhi on track to connect with the farmers

Rajat Kain

rahul_amethiCongress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is a busy man after his return from the 56-day leave of absence. Labelling Narendra Modi led government ‘anti-farmer’, Gandhi has been aggressively raising the emotive issue of ordinance on land acquisition.

Following up his vow “to be with the farmers at this hour of crisis”, he began his visit to meet the farmer of Punjab. Travelling ‘general’ compartment of Sachkhand Express he will be visiting Khanna and Gobindgarh in Punjab Tuesday. There he will be taking the stock of situation in the grain markets of Sirhind, Gobindgarh and Khanna mandis.

Congress party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia and other state leaders accompanied Mr. Gandhi in his train journey as it left Chandigarh for Punjab regions.

His other agenda will be to meet the farmer who has suffered huge financial losses due to the unseasonal rains across the country. Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the farmers has come at a time when the farmers of the region have accused the Akali-BJP state government of tardy crop procurement. Wheat farmer are the hardest hit in the region as the state government hasn’t done much for them they claim. Like the widespread suicides by the farmers across the country, the state of Punjab has also witnessed farmer’s suicides.

At the same time, Congress Vice President will be hoping to put his own house in order as the PCC unit has been a warring house with different factions unable to help the battered party.

However, the local Congress heavyweights have already opened a front against the state government. Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had on Monday suggested that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal stage a dharna along with his ministers outside the Prime Minister’s Office to seek his attention on farmers’ issue. Singh, who is also the Congress party’s Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha, paid a visit to the grain markets of Patiala and Khanna. Khanna grain market is considered one of the largest grain markets in Asia.

“If Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not giving time to Badal, he should better stage a dharna instead of loitering around and issuing hollow threats to seek his attention,” told Singh, while adding that the Akali-BJP government is not purchasing the produce of farmers adequately.

After his return from the ‘leave of absence’, which generated lot of political debate and even uncomfortable questions for the Congress party for its timings, Rahul Gandhi has been aggressively pitching pro-farmer and pro-poor issues.

Attacking the BJP-led Union government in public rally in Delhi and on the floor of Lok Sabha, he said the government has been “ignoring the farming community and only favouring the rich industrialists and corporates”.

Earlier last week Rahul Gandhi took a challenging trek to Kedarnath shrine, where he paid homage to the victims of 2013 flash floods in Uttarakhand.

Starting first week of May, the Congress Vice President also plans to undertake a padyatra to connect with the farmers.