Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi here on Friday declared that his party would be solidly behind the farmers in the hour of their crises.
Rahul Gandhi, who arrived here from Bengaluru in the morning, went in a padayatra and consoled the families of distressed farmers, who had committed suicides due to financial difficulties. He also handed over Rs 50,000 to each of 47 families of deceased farmers as party assistance.
Stating that the Congress party would relentlessly fight for the uplift of poor and farmers, Rahul said the Congress would frustrate the attempts of the BJP government at the Centre from forcibly take over the lands of the toiling farmers. Pointing that farmers and handloom workers in Andhra Pradesh were in great difficulties, Rahul said he has come to wipe off their tears and instill confidence among them.
Recalling while the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had brought about an Act to prevent take over of lands without the consent of the farmers, the Congress vice-president alleged that the present NDA regime enacted the Land Acquisition Act with an intention to benefit the affluent industrialists. “If the present regime dared to snatch an inch of land from the farmer without their consent, the farmers would show their power to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the UPA government had assured special status to the residuary State and Polavaram project, the NDA government has been attempting to deprive AP of special status and required funds to the Polavaram project.
Questioning AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu directly as to why he was not fighting for special status to Andhra Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said he has late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s ideals and spirit in his blood and would fight for the achievement of these demands successfully. Exhorting the farmers to be courageous, the Congress leader alleged that the present BJP government was trying to reverse the pro-poor and pro-farmer policies of the previous UPA government.
On Friday, Rahul Gandhi began his 10 km-long ‘padyatra’ from a village in the district to highlight the issues faced by farmers and women Self-Help Groups. The Congress leader, through Twitter, continued to attack the Narendra Modi government at the Centre on the Land Acquisition Bill over which the Congress has been attacking the BJP.
Rahul, who has reached out to farmers during similar visits and foot marches in Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana and more recently Rajasthan, kicked off his padayatra from Obuladevara Cheruvu village to Mamilakuntapalli, a three-km stretch, where he had an interaction with farmers, weavers and students. He kicked off his yatra from the village where Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting in 1979.
Later, the Congress Vice-President will go to Puttaparthy and receive representations from people, besides holding interaction with senior Congress leaders. He will also visit the ‘Maha Samadhi’ of Sri Satya Sai Baba. Gandhi’s visit, the first after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, is being seen as an effort to strengthen the party’s base in the State after it drew a blank in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections held in 2014. (NSS)