Rahul Gandhi kicks off padyatra in AP, tells farmers `Govt trying to take your lands forcefully`

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi

Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh), July 24: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government is trying to snatch away farmers’ lands, adding that his party won’t let that happen.

The Congress vice-president, who is currently on a ‘ padyatra’ in Andhra Pradesh, said: “The government is trying to take away farmers’ lands forcefully; the Prime Minister was under the impression that he can do that easily. Won’t let him take farmers’ land easily.”

Rahul said: “The Congress party decided to show the power of the farmers to the Prime Minister,” and further questioned why the ruling TDP and the YSR Congress are desisting from asking for a special status for the state.

He asked: “Why are they not asking the Central Government for special status for Andhra now? Why are they not protesting?”

Rahul, who distributed compensatory cheques to the families of the farmers who had committed suicide, has been consistently attacking the Centre over the Land Bill and farmers’ issues.

The Congress vice-president has begun his 10 km-long ‘padyatra’ here from the village, where Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting in 1979, to highlight the issues faced by farmers and women Self-Help Groups.

During the course of his yatra, he would reportedly hold interactions in three villages of the district with farmers, MGNREGS workers and with women SHGs.

Rahul, who has reached out to farmers during similar visits and foot marches in states like Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana and more recently Rajasthan, kicked off his padayatra from Obuladevara Cheruvu village to Mamilakuntapalli, a three-km stretch, where he is scheduled to have an interaction with farmers, weavers and students.

He would also meet the family of farmer Harinath Reddy, who allegedly committed suicide.

“He would walk for 10 kilometres. In fact, (Rahul’s grandmother) Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting at the village in 1979. There would be three-four interactions with students, farmers and self-help group women,” APCC president N Raghuveera Reddy had said on Thursday.

Rahul will undertake his second stretch of padyatra from Mamilakuntapalli to Daburavaripalli (5 kms). Later, he will have an interaction with women SHGs and visit Deburavaripalli habitation.

The third stretch of Rahul’s padyatra will be between Daburavaripalli to Kondakamarla (2 kms) where he will interact with MGNREGS workers and family members of migrant labourers.

Later, the Congress vice president will go to Puttaparthy and receive representations from people, besides holding interaction with senior Congress leaders. He will also visit the ‘Maha Samadhi’ of Sri Satya Sai Baba.

Rahul Gandhi’s visit, the first after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, is being seen as an effort to strengthen the party’s base in the state after it drew a blank in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections held in 2014.

The ruling TDP in the state and YSR Congress, had on Thursday hit out at Rahul, blaming the Congress for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the “gross injustice” to Semaandhra.

(With Agency Inputs)

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