A packed schedule awaits Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi when he returns from his trip to Aspen, in the United States.
After tasting ‘success’ in its agitation on pro-farmer land issues, the party now wants to turn its focus to sugarcane farmers who are severely affected due to shortage of rains in large parts of India, including states like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
Gandhi, leading his party in its pro-farmer, pro-rural line of politics, is planning to demand a hefty compensation from both states and the Centre for farmers.
Politically too, the Congress stands to gain if it takes on the farmers’ cause in these states. While the BJP is leading the government in Maharashtra, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, which recently made an exit from the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar, is heading the
state government in UP.
Gandhi, according to his key aides, had also planned to reach out to cotton farmers and may go on a padyatra in Karnataka to express solidarity with them. In states like Karnataka and Maharashtra, a minimum 10% shortfall in cotton production is expected due to deficient rains.
“The padyatra is initially planned for two days, but only after Gandhi returns the details will be finalised,” a key aide said.
A number of state visits will also be finalised after he returns. “Invitations are pending from many state units and Gandhi has to take a call on where all he wants to visit,” said the aide.