Rahul Gandhi begins three-day Amethi visit today, to attend farmers’ chaupal
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will begin his three-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi.Updated: Oct 04, 2017 10:57 IST
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will take part in a chaupal or meeting of farmers at Kathaura village near Jagdishpur on the first day of his three-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.
This is his first visit to Amethi after the Congress’ debacle in the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Gandhi’s decision to hold a chaupal assumes significance in the backdrop of his objections to National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) move to acquire land from farmers in Kathaura for broadening roads.
On August 1, Gandhi flew to Lucknow to draw the attention of NHAI officials towards the procedure that was being followed to acquire land from farmers and payment of compensation to them.
He submitted a memorandum to NHAI chief general manager Rajiv Agarwal, who assured him of a visit to the spot and an inquiry into the issue.
As most of the issues raised at his meeting with the NHAI have remained unresolved, the chaupal is likely to bring the focus back on them.
Gandhi will be visiting Amethi after a gap of six months and his absence led to anger and disappointment among the voters.
In August, dozens of posters declaring the 47-year-old local MP as “missing” surfaced in Amethi. The posters carried Gandhi’s picture with a message in Hindi saying “anyone giving information about Rahul Gandhi will be rewarded”.
The district administration earlier requested the local Congress unit to reschedule Gandhi’s programme to after October 5, saying making security arrangements on those dates will cause ‘inconvenience’.
District magistrate Amethi Yogesh Kumar in a letter sent to the Amethi District Congress Committee (DCC) on September 30, 2017, saying the district’s police force will be engaged in duties relating to idol immersion, Dussehra and Moharram.
Reacting sharply to the letter, senior Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Akhilesh Singh accused the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state of “using tactics” to stop Gandhi from visiting his constituency.
“The Uttar Pradesh government is worried and does not want Rahul to visit Amethi, fearing that he might raise issues directly related to the public. This scares the BJP,” he said.
Singh added that the Yogi government was perhaps worried that Gandhi’s schedule might “eclipse” the proposed visit by BJP chief Amit Shah and Union ministers Smriti Irani and Nitin Gadkari to Amethi on October 10.
Refuting the grounds on which the authorities asked the Congress vice-president to reschedule his visit, Singh told news agency PTI that almost all the festivities would be over by October 4.
Gandhi on Monday received the administration’s nod to visit Amethi, which also said he would be provided protection.
On the second day, Gandhi will visit parts of his constituency in Rae Bareli district.
(With agency inputs)