Rahul says won’t allow ‘anti-farmer’ land bill

Jaipur, July 16 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met farmers in Rajasthan and assured them that his party was firmly with them, and will not allow the BJP-led central government to go ahead with the “anti-farmer” land bill.

Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to Rajasthan, met the farmers in Hanumangarh district, over 400 km from state capital Jaipur.

“All our MPs, MLAs and party workers will raise your issues and fight for your causes. The Congress is the party for the poor, downtrodden and the farmers,” Gandhi said during a ‘padyatra’ (foot march) in the district.

“The Congress has always worked for the interests of the poor. We will not allow the BJP government at the centre to go ahead with the bill, which is anti-farmer,” he said, referring to the land acquisition bill.

“Remember whenever they (the BJP) try to create problems for you, the Congress will be standing with you,” he said.

Talking to party workers and supporters in Khotanwali in Hanumangarh district before his ‘padyatra’, Gandhi said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a lot of things to fight for.

“We cannot even dream of so many things. There is Vyapam scam, land acquisition, corruption to name a few,” he said.

Hitting out at Modi, Gandhi said: “Do you remember what Modi ji said one year back. ‘Na khaunga, na khane dunga’ (Won’t be corrupt, won’t allow corruption). It seems he has forgotten his promise.”

Gandhi said the BJP government operates at the behest of some corporate houses.

He said the central government has nothing to do with the people’s pain.

In Rajasthan, schools were being closed, many welfare schemes of the previous Congress government like free medicines were stopped, he said.

“We tried to help tribals, but they (BJP government) are not working on the plans and schemes launched by the previous Congress government for the tribals,” Gandhi added.

He said the main aim of his ‘padyatra’ was to understand the basic problems of the public and to raise these issues in parliament.

“Currently, the central and state governments are doing nothing in the interest of the public,” he said.

Gandhi is scheduled to visit Jaipur later.

During his 9-km ‘padyatra’, he interacted with villagers, farmers and local businessmen, and also had lunch at a farmer’s house.

He started his ‘padyatra’ from Khotanwali and visited villages like Surawali and Amarsingh Wala.

Party workers and supporters in hundreds holding flags accompanied Gandhi. His security personnel had a tough time controlling the supporters who were trying to shake hands with him.

State Congress president Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Rameshwar Dudi, were among the leaders who accompanied Gandhi in the padyatra.

On Friday, Gandhi will address the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee Convention in Jaipur. He will later interact with civil society members and intellectuals.

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