Will not allow PM to take farmers’ land: Rahul

Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh), July 24 (IANS) Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the contentious land bill, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said he would not allow him to take farmers’ land easily.

Addressing two meetings in this district as as part of his ‘padyatra’ to highlight the problems faced by farmers, he assured the farming community that Congress will stand by them.

“The PM of India is under the impression that he can take away the lands of the farmers but we will not let him take farmers’ land easily,” said Gandhi.

“We have not even shown 10 percent of the strength of farmers of India. And the PM suddenly understood that he cannot push the farmers of this country,” he said in an obvious reference to the government’s proposal to amend the land bill to break the impasse in parliament.

He said the Congress took a stand in parliament that it will not let the government take away the land of farmers that easily.

“The Congress and the farmers of this country decided to show a little bit of their power to the prime minister. He changed his mind after the fight of farmers, which was fought by the Congress,” he added.

On his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation of the state, Gandhi also hit out at Modi over special status to the state.

“The PM wanted to take away land of farmers and also the special status and Polavaram away from people of this state,” he said while alleging that the NDA government is going back on the commitment to accord special status to the state.

Gandhi, whose visit is seen as an effort to strengthen the party’s base in the state after it drew a blank in last year’s assembly and Lok Sabha elections, told the rally that the Congress is fully committed to special status and Polavaram project.

He also targeted Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and main opposition YSR Congress Party for not fighting for special status for the state.

“I can fully understand the intention of the prime minister. But, what I do not understand is the intention of the chief minister of this state and other party. I do not understand why these parties do not fight for special status and for Polavaram,” he said.

Accompanied by Congress state unit president Raghuveera Reddy, other leaders and a large number of party workers and supporters, Gandhi undertook a 10-km padyatra in the drought-prone district.

He kicked off his padyatra from Obuladevara Cheruvu village, where his grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting in 1979.

He interacted with farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans and women’s self-help groups and enquired about their problems. He also consoled the families of farmers who committed suicide due to financial distress.

Clad in blue jeans and kurta, Gandhi covered a distance of 10 km till Kondakamarla village in the district. He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi during her visit to this backward district saw how the crisis in agriculture was leading to migration from rural areas and then she decided to bring the rural employment guarantee act to check migration.

The Congress leader said the legislation immensely benefited the poor in rural areas. He said the Congress-led UPA government also brought Food Security Act to end hunger.

Addressing a meet at Kondakamarla to wind up his walkathon, Gandhi said both Modi and Chandrababu Naidu had betrayed people of the state.

He said that Naidu has not fulfilled his poll promises. “During the last one year, he has done nothing except making speeches. At least now he should stop talking and do something to solve people’s problems,” he said.

Actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi, former central ministers Pallam Raju, Pannabaka Lakshmi, J.D. Seelam, Subbarami Reddy, member of Parliament K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and other party leaders participated in padyatra.

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