Taking a swipe at Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said the Prime Minister of the country should also empathise with farmers and not just with industrialists.
The Congress vice-president said this in Mahoba district in drought-hit Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, where had gone on Saturday for a day-long ‘kisan padyatra’ to speak with affected farmers.
“Yesterday, we saw Modiji becoming emotional...he paused during his speech (at the BBAU convocation) and had tears in his eyes...I want to say: Modiji, the food you eat, the pulse which is today selling at Rs 220, is provided to you by farmers,” he said, referring to Modi’s condolence speech for Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.
Addressing villagers during his nearly seven-kilometre-long foot-march, the Congress leader also sought more funds for the development of the water-scarce region.
“During the UPA regime, price of crude petroleum was USD 150 per barrel, whereas now it has fallen to just USD 28. A lot of money saved here can be used for the development of backward regions like Bundelkhand,” he said.
Promising people of Bundelkhand that he would highlight their problems in Parliament, Rahul said he has been speaking on all these issues and voicing farmers’ concerns during his ‘padyatras’ in other parts of the country as well.
He also took the opportunity to tout UPA programmes, and said if the MNREGS scheme had been implemented, the region would not have faced the issue of mass exodus it is seeing now.
With drought-hit Bundelkhand becoming a fertile ground for politicking, leaders have been making a beeline to hear tales of human miseries and indulge in accusations and counter accusations over the situation in the region that has remained caught in the quagmire of politics over the years.
Ahead of the Congress leader’s visit, BJP legislature party leader Suresh Khanna visited the region and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has planned a visit on January 27.
And Rahul faces an uphill task in the region, especially since political rivals say the Bundelkhand package announced during the UPA regime at his behest had failed to make an impact owing to its poor implementation.
Nonetheless, the Congress vice-president congratulated his party workers “for standing alongside the farmers and labourers and fighting for them”.
According to MP Congress secretary Nitin Chaturvedi, Rahul has assured party leaders that he would soon tour the Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh as well.
Rahul has also urged party workers to send him a report on the state of affairs in the region, he added.
(With PTI inputs)