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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

At Chhattisgarh rally, Rahul Gandhi woos farmers, tribals

Rahul Gandhi distributed certificate of land ownership to the farmers and tribals whose land was acquired by the government for a steel factory in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2019 16:12 IST

Hindustan Times, Bastar, Chhattisgarh
Congress president Rahul Gandhi speaking at a public rally in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar on Saturday.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi speaking at a public rally in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar on Saturday.(Twitter/@INCIndia)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday returned the ownership documents to Chhattisgarh farmers and tribal people, whose land was acquired for a Tata Steel factory in Bastar district of the state. Gandhi said Chhattisgarh became the first state to return land to the farmers and tribals after having acquired the same for a development project.

The Congress had promised in the run up to the Chhattisgarh assembly election to return the land to its original owner if voted to power. The land was acquired for a factory in 2008, which could not be established by Tata Steel. Spread over 10 villages, total 1,764.61 hectares of land belonging to 1,707 farmers had been acquired by the government.

This was the first public function held by Gandhi, who had put off all political events in the wake of Pulwama terror attack on Thursday, when terrorists targeted a convoy of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed in the attack that was carried out

Gandhi had said it was “a time for mourning” for the nation and cancelled all his political rallies. At his first post-Pulwama public rally, the Congress president spoke mostly about the farmers and tribals.

Speaking at the Adivais Krishak Adhikar Sammelan at the Dhuregaon village in Bastar, Gandhi also targeted the BJP saying, “The previous BJP government claimed that it did not have money to give fair MSPs (minimum support price) to farmers. We have proved that it can be done after forming the government.”

Gandhi also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over farm loan waiver. He said, “Farmers pay insurance premiums but do not receive insurance when their crops are damaged. This money goes straight to the pocket of people like Anil Ambani… If Narendra Modi can waive off loans of industrialists like Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi then we can do waive off farm loans too.”

“If demonetisation was a fight against black money, why honest people had to stand in queues,” said Gandhi attacking the Modi government over its decision to recall nearly 86 per cent of the money in circulation in November 2016. The Congress has maintained that demonetisation led to massive loss of jobs in small and medium scale sector of economy.

The Congress president also unveiled a number of development projects under the newly elected Bhupesh Baghel government of Chhattisgarh. In his bid to strike a chord with the tribal people of the state, Gandhi said the forest, land and water rights belong to tribal people and the benefit from the forest produce should reach them.

First Published: Feb 16, 2019 16:08 IST