Stage collapses as Varun Gandhi addresses farmers on birthday

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
  • Updated: Mar 14, 2016 11:12 IST
BJP's MP of Sultanpur, Varun Gandhi was on a makeshift stage that was overcrowded with his supporters. The dais soon gave way. Gandhi was in Moradabad to celebrate his 35th birthday on Sunday. (PTI)

BJP MP Varun Gandhi narrowly escaped being injured when a stage he was on collapsed on Sunday. Gandhi was in Moradabad to provide monetary aid to families of farmers who had committed suicide, and was addressing a gathering at Peeli Kothi Chowk on the Moradabad-Haridwar Highway when the makeshift stage gave way. The dais was overcrowded with the MP’s supporters.

Gandhi, who turned 36 on Sunday, was sharing the stage with Moradabad MP Sarvesh Kumar and mayor Veena Agarwal when the incident took place. He however continued with his programme.

“It is disgusting to find the rich, who have taken loans to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore and aren’t paying, going unscathed. On the other hand, there are farmers like Raj Kumar who were compelled to end their life over a loan of Rs 40,000.”

Gandhi met the widows of three farmers who committed suicide, including Raj Kumar, Sita Ram Saini and Chandra Pal. Gandhi’s aides said he distributed Rs 1 lakh to each of them from his salary as MP as a part of a “personal campaign” undertaken over a year ago.

Through his campaign, Gandhi has visited families in 11 districts over the last one year, keeping in tune with the party’s go-rural focus. The BJP in fact began a gaon-chalo campaign in February, and there are indications that party chief Amit Shah wants a second leg of the campaign to be launched soon.

As parties gear up for assembly elections this April-May, the BJP also has its eye on the 2017 elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Claiming the state was in its biggest ever agrarian crisis, Gandhi spoke on the problem of rising unemployment. The MP promised soft, interest free loans to farmers ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for a 10-year period if the BJP government came to power in UP.

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