Rahul Gandhi resumes padyatra

Rahul GandhiTappal, Aligargh: After spending the night in Rampur Badli village, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Wednesday, resumed his foot march (padyatra) to meet farmers affected by land acquisition by the Maywati government.

Gandhi’s march, which stared from Bhatta-Parsual village, yesterday morning, will culminate in “kisan maha panchayat” being held by the party in Aligarh July 9. The party has decided to erect a “non-political” platform for farmers to speak about their problems at the rally, which will be addressed by Gandhi.

Rahul has visited a number of villages, met farmers and tried to know problems being faced by them. He also held ‘Choupals'(informal assembly of people), some of it under the trees on the roadside.

Gandhi’s visit to the area, a direct challenge to the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh ahead of elections next year, comes about two months after he was detained in Bhatta-Parsaul during a visit after the violence in May.

From Rampur Badli, Rahul proceeded to Jewar village and met farmers there and then proceeded further ahead along the route where the Taj Expressway, linking Greater Noida with Agra, is being constructed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Rahul has visited a number of villages, met farmers and tried to know problems being faced by them. He also held ‘Choupals'(informal assembly of people), some of it under the trees on the roadside.

Yesterday Rahul had dal, roti and vegetable with no chillies for dinner at a famer’s house. A weary-looking Rahul Gandhi opted for rotis over puris, when his host Vijaypal Sharma, a local farmer and Congress supporter, started serving the dinner.

The Congress leader, who walked 19 km on Tuesday, was asked by Sharma’s family members how he was feeling after a tiring schedule. To this he replied, “Thik-thak hain” (I am okay).

He also took quick bath on the terrace of the double-storey house before the dinner, said a Sharma family member.

After the bath, Rahul slipped into a fresh pair of kurta-pyjama and joined his hosts for dinner. He was accompanied by a friend, who the villagers said was being addressed as Kanishka.

The Congress leader, who backed the India-US nuclear deal in Parliament saying that the country needed more power, had a first-hand taste of the reality in rural areas when there was a power outage in the village.

The host and his family members swiftly arranged a genset to ensure their VIP guest was not put to discomfort. After the hard day’s work, the 41-year-old politician hit his bed on the terrace under the sky.

Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said Gandhi was visiting areas where atrocities had been committed against farmers.

Digvijay Singh, who is in-charge of UP, said, “Rahul’s padyatra is an attempt to know the real problems being faced by the farmers affected due to land acquisition. As the Centre will be amending Land Acquisition Act, he will be giving suggestions on certain points about that.”

Opposition calls it “political drama”

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed Gandhi’s march as a “political drama” and accused him of following “two standards” of compassion and wondered why he did not express similar sentiments after the police crackdown in the capital on supporters of Ramdev.

“It is a political drama. You can call it as a political stunt. Beyond that it is nothing,” senior party leader Rajnath Singh said. He said since 2007, Congress has been “sitting” on the Land Acquisition (amendment) Bill.

“If it wants to help the cause of the farmers, it should bring the bill. BJP has already stated that it will support amendments aimed at benefiting the farmers and help the passage of the bill in both houses of Parliament,” he said.

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party issued a statement, on behalf of Chief Minister Mayawati, warning that her party would disrupt the proceedings of Parliament if the Congress fails to introduce the amendment bill on land acquisition during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The BSP release also challenged Gandhi to cite one example of a Congress-ruled state where the land-acquisition policy was more farmer-friendly than in Uttar Pradesh.

(source: zeenews-india.com)

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