Kalawati, the poor widow whose woes were recounted by Rahul Gandhi in Parliament, on Saturday accused the Congress-led government in Maharashtra of not giving adequate land compensation to around 4,000 women from Vidarbha region facing the same financial hardships as her.
Her accusation drew more attention as it was made in front of former BJP President Rajnath Singh in Yavatmal district, known for suicides by farmers. Singh is visiting the area to meet those farmers who are unhappy with compensation given to them by the government for acquiring their land.
"Kalawati came to meet Rajnath Singh at Vani tehsil of Yavatmal district. She said that though she had got compensation as her case had got wide publicity, she would not be happy till 4,000 widows and women from the weaker sections are given their due," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters in New Delhi.
Kalawati, a widow with seven daughters and two sons, became famous when Gandhi met her and espoused her cause in Parliament during the debate on the Indo-US Civil Nuclear deal.
Singh was sent to a Congress-ruled state ostensibly with a view to having a first hand assessment of the ground realities and embarrassing Rahul Gandhi who has been campaigning in Uttar Pradesh for adequate compensation to the farmers whose land was acquired by the government.
The former UP chief minister dared Gandhi to visit Yavatmal and see the plight of farmers and widows of the region instead of just concentrating on Uttar Pradesh which goes to the polls early next year.
BJP has put forward some demands including no forceful acquisition of land from farmers, adequate compensation to them, a stake in the developed land or a share of the profits for farmers, jobs to those who sold their land and an annuity (some annual funds) to the affected farmers.
"These women, led by Kalawati, said they will not sit quiet till adequate compensation is given to them," Javadekar said.