Rahul Neither Farmer, Nor Leader, Says BJP; Cong Says He Speaks for Farmers
Despite the administration announcing that he would not be allowed to enter Mandsaur, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi reached the Madhya Pradesh border from Udaipur early on Thursday, and from there rode pillion to meet families of farmers killed in police firing.
File image of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI)
New Delhi: Despite the administration announcing that he would not be allowed to enter Mandsaur, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi reached the Madhya Pradesh border from Udaipur early on Thursday, and from there rode pillion to meet families of farmers killed in police firing. Gandhi left his SPG cover behind as he zoomed past a plethora of journalists and policemen. He was soon detained by MP Police.
This is not the first time when Gandhi has reached a farmers’ protest amid soaring tension. However, there are questions if such appearances help the farmers’ cause.
RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh’s MP state secretary Manmohan Vyas said, “Madhya Pradesh will be going to Assembly polls next year and Rahul Gandhi’s visit is nothing but a political stunt. His visit is not going to normalize things in Mandsaur, which is tense right now. He shouldn’t have come at such a time. What did Congress do for farmers during its tenure and what has Rahul Gandhi done for them?”
Rahul has, in the past, taken up the cause of farmers in Bhatta Parsaul — the twin villages near Greater Noida where the farmers protested against the land acquisitions. That drama culminated into Rahul Gandhi’s arrest midnight. Ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections, Gandhi had started the Kisan Yatra, where he covered about 3,500 kilometres of distance tapping 48 districts and 141 Assembly segments in 26 days. He had recently hit out at Telangana government over farmers’ suicides.
But farmer unions believe Gandhi needs to do a lot more to win the faith of Indian farmers. “Rahul Gandhi has tried to raise issues of farmers but has failed to take them forward. He has not been able to maintain the same fervor he has when he starts speaking on the issues. He probably has more important things to do, but he has not acted well on his commitment to farmers,” said Dharmendra Mali of Bharatiya Kisan Union.
Congress, however, said Rahul Gandhi is India’s only leader consistent on farmers’ issues. Sanjay Nirupam, a former Congress MP and current President of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, said Gandhi’s fight for their rights has benefitted farmers.
“Look at what happened in Bhatta-Parsaul where he was actively fighting for the farmers. In UP, farmers benefitted because of his agitation otherwise the state government would have had its way in acquiring land,” he said.
Slamming the central government for failing to implement the MS Swaminathan Report, he said, “It was one of his poll promises. What happened to that? Farmers are dying and the government has done nothing. It is still at its age-old formula of accusing the Congress of wrongdoing.”
Speaking to News18, Prabhat Jha, the BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh said, “Rahul is not a man of farmers. He does not know anything about them. He is neither a leader nor a farmer. Why does he wait for people to die to talk about their welfare?”
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