Aiming to revive his party prospects in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit the dusty trail, kicking off his month-long Kisan Yatra from eastern UP district Deoria.
At every crossing during the road show, Rahul Gandhi was welcomed by enthusiastic locals. Such was the gathering that narrow lanes of Deoria were chock-a-block with four-wheelers moving in the Congress vice president’s cavalcade.
Addressing farmers, who turned up in huge numbers, at the Rudrapur Inter College ground in Deoria in his first ‘khat sabha’, Rahul was quick to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Modi has waved bank loans of his industrialist friends to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore, but has done nothing for the farmers. It was the Congress government which had waived Rs 70,000 crore loan of the farmers,” said Rahul Gandhi to a big around of applause from farmers, who had gathered in large numbers for the ‘khat sabha’.
For the yatra, covering over 2500 km, the Congress vice president has prepared a Kisan Mang Patra (farmers’ memorandum) that includes three promises — Karza Maaf (loan waiver), Bijli bill half (50% reduction in power bill), Samarthan mulya ka karo hisab (decide the minimum support price of crops).
This Kisan Mang Patra would be distributed among farmers during the yatra, planned by Congress campaign strategist Prashant Kishore, to enable the party to reach out to nearly 2 crore people.
“I started the fight for the farmers from Bhatta Parsaul. The Congress is neither in power at the Centre nor in Uttar Pradesh now, but I will fight for farmers,” he said Rahul also promised to wave off farmers’ loan if his party formed a government in UP. Also, he said electricity dues of the farmers would by slashed by 50%.
Attacking the Samajwadi Party, the Congress vice president said the state government was responsible for closure of 17 sugar mills in Deoria.
Earlier, local farmers also shared their problems with Rahul Gandhi.
Before the ‘khat sabha’, Rahul met villagers at Panchlari Kritpura village of Rudrapur assembly constituency, represented by Congress MLA Akhilesh Pratap Singh.
During the day-long events, members of the team PK (Prashant Kishore) made sure that everything falls in place for the mega show.
Dressed in black T-shirt and blue jeans, members of the team kept a close watch from the beginning – the moment Rahul Gandhi landed from a chopper in Rudrapur.