Rahul’s next stop Vidarbha, to hold ‘padyatra’ tomorrow

RSTV Bureau

File Photo ( PTI )

Keeping up pressure on the Union government over the farmers’ issues, Rahul Gandhi will begin his ‘kisaan padyatra‘ from Vidarbha in Maharashtra on Friday. He will start by holding a 15-km footmarch in Maharashtra region as he criss-crosses the country to reach out to the farmers in distress in various states.

The Congress Vice President, who met the farmers in Punjab on Tuesday, will commence his foot march from Gunji village early at 7 am on Thursday and is expected to end it at Ramgaon.

Maharashtra is one of the states that has experienced a severe agrarian crisis. In particular, Amravati division in Vidarbha region has witnessed many farmers committing suicide this year.

According to an itinerary released by his office, Rahul Gandhi will also visit Rajana and Tonglabad villages in Amravati district on Friday.

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 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. His visit came at a time when farmers in the region have accused the government of tardy wheat procurement.

In Uttar Pradesh, Rahul is 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.

As Congress is seeking to make land acquisition bill a major issue to arrest its sliding fortunes, Rahul’s public outreach plan is aimed at galvanising the party cadres and broadening the party base among farming communities.

Rahul’s march is also seen as an exercise to connect the party with grassroots after its worst-ever debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in which its tally came down drastically to 44 from 206 in the 2009 general elections.

Its woes did not end there as the drubbing in Lok Sabha polls was followed by a series of defeats in state elections.