He may have skipped the first half of the Budget session, but it seems Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will not disappoint the farmers.
After returning from his 56-day leave of absence, Rahul is slated to meet the farmers on Saturday, a day ahead of the Congress’s kisan-khet mazdoor rally on Sunday.
The party hopes that the meeting and the rally shall help to intensify protests against the Land Acquisition Bill of the Narendra Modi government.
On Saturday, Rahul will seek the farmers’ views about the changes made by the Modi government to the original law brought in by the previous UPA government.
Congress leaders said the party vice-president, accompanied by some senior leaders, including Jairam Ramesh and Digvijaya Singh, will meet members of various farmers’ organisations from states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
The delegation will include farmers from Bhatta Parsaul village from where Rahul had launched a ‘padyatra’ in 2011 against forcible land acquisition of farmers, a protest that had culminated in passage of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The party has already made it clear that Rahul will address the rally of farmers along with party president Sonia Gandhi. The rally is being seen as a sort of comeback announcement of Rahul and a show of strength by the party, which has been strongly opposing changes in the original Act.
The Congress vice-president will visit his parliamentary constituency Amethi after the rally.
Congress is hoping to rally people from various parts of the country with the ‘Chalo Dilli Chale’ slogan which will be seen on the hoardings and heard on FM radio channels. A 17-coach Kisan Express train carrying farmers will leave from Jaipur and arrive at Delhi after six stops on the rally day.
On Friday, AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is convener of the committee to chalk out plans for organising the rally, huddled with AICC secretaries to assess the preparations for the rally. State leaders have been directed to ensure that the rally has full attendance.
Meanwhile, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Congress leaders were probably much happier during the absence of party vice-president who has just returned to the country.
“I think people in his party were much happier when he was not here. It is for them to find out where he had gone. There is nothing for us to speak on that,” Rudy said.
“He is relaxed and that is why he is smiling. But I think he has been away for a long time and when you get elected to Parliament there is some commitment to it as well. So I hope he attends Parliament even after his trip which makes him happy,” Rudy added on the sidelines of an event.
Asked if his party has any message for him, Rudy said, “He had a tough time in the last elections so possibly he decided to go on a sabbatical or on a holiday or something like that. How can the BJP get into the personal life of an individual?”