Congress preparing for mega farmers’ rally on Sunday

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) The Congress is making earnest preparations for its “Kisan Samman Rally” on Sunday, and the party expects over one lakh people from Delhi and its neighbouring states to attend the event.

The rally to mark the party’s “victory” on the land acquisition bill over the Narendra Modi government will highlight the role of party vice president Rahul Gandhi in taking a firm stand and forcing the government to back-track on an issue concerning farmers.

“The land bill was among the first major issues taken up by Rahul Gandhi against the Modi government. He had promised that he will not allow the government to dilute the land bill passed by the UPA government and he has delivered on his promise,” a party leader told IANS.

The party is mobilising support for the rally largely in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

“We are expecting over one lakh people. It will be a big rally,” the leader said.

Speakers at the rally will highlight the party’s struggle for farmers who constitute a large section of electorate in all states.

The rally is being held weeks ahead of assembly polls in Bihar and the party is expecting that it will help it in the poll-bound state.

The Congress has suffered a string of losses in assembly polls after its debacle in the Lok Sabha election last year.

The rally is being seen as part of efforts by the party for its electoral revival.

The government allowed its ordinance to lapse following stiff opposition from the Congress to changes in the 2013 Act on land acquisition which was passed during the then United Progressive Alliance government.

The new land bill of the National Democratic Alliance government is being examined by a joint committee of parliament but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has already made significant change in its stance on the legislation by relenting on some clauses such as on consent and social impact assessment.

Rahul Gandhi had come in for special praise at the Congress Working Committee meeting on September 8 from his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi and other members for leading the battle against the government on its land ordinance.

Sonia Gandhi said the government was compelled to withdraw its “anti-farmer amendments” due to the party’s sustained campaign.

“The credit for this goes to every worker of the Congress party, who under Rahul’s active guidance, carried out a sustained agitation,” she had said.

The CWC also congratulated Rahul Gandhi, and farmers across the country for “their determined and resolute opposition to draconian ordinance”.

Rahul Gandhi had met delegations of farmers from various states last week and told them that the Congress was proud to have fought with them against the government’s “anti-farmer amendments” to the land bill.

He said the Congress was fighting to ensure that farmers become equal partners in the progress of the nation.

The Congress had last week formed a committee with senior leader A.K. Antony as its chairman in an apparent effort to turn the rally into a show of strength.

The committee includes among others former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, party treasurer Moitlal Vora, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat as members.

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