Scotching speculation Rahul says he will visit Karnataka

Karnataka:Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said he will visit Karnataka as part of his nationwide ‘padyatra’ to highlight farmers’ issues, even as about 100 farmers have reportedly killed themselves in his party-ruled state since April.
There was speculation that Gandhi may either skip the tour or confines it to interaction with party workers and not with farmers.

Sources in Congress also said the Congress vice president will visit Karnataka after its Assembly session is over.

About 100 farmers are reported to have committed suicide since April this year in the state and BJP plans to highlight it in a big way.

There was speculation that with the state legislature in session and with BJP planning to rake up the issue in Parliament, Gandhi did not want to embarrass the state government by visiting farmers in Karnataka.

“I have got a plan to go every where. I am going to Karnataka,” Gandhi told reporters on his 10 km-long ‘padyatra’ (foot march) from a village in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting in 1979 in the district to highlight issues faced by farmers and women Self-Help Groups.

The Congress vice president undertook his ‘padayatra’ from Obuladevara Cheruvu village to Mamilakuntapalli, a three kms stretch. He is scheduled to interact with farmers, weavers and students.

Gandhi had reached out to farmers during similar visits and foot marches in states like Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana and more recently in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

It is Gandhi’s first visit since bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, where Congress drew blank in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections held in 2014.

His visit is being seen as an effort to strengthen the Congress’ base in the state.