Senior Congress leaders from Maharashtra keen to participate in the Kisan Rally to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi finally returned to Delhi after a 57- day sabbatical which has created a buzz on social network as #RahulReturns hash tag was trending on twitter. Even as people were questioning about Rahul’s sudden disappearance from the political arena the Congress party clarified that the Gandhi scion had taken a sabbatical to introspect about his future.
Rahul Gandhi will address farmers rally on April 19 against the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill which makes it easier for companies to acquire land for industrial and key infrastructure projects. Rahul will consult with party leaders and farmers for devising strategy for the conduct of rally. The rally assumes significance as it is being held on the eve of the opening of the second phase of the Budget session of Parliament and at a time when the government has re-promulgated the Land Acquisition Ordinance.
Meanwhile, the excitement of local Congress leaders knew no bounds when they came to know that Rahul is back.
Congress Senior Leader Manikrao Thakre said, “All senior leaders of Congress party from Maharashtra will take part in the ‘Kisan Rally’ led by our vice-president Rahul Gandhi on 19th April.”
He also added, “If our state president Ashok Chavan decides and calls for holding a similar kind of protest against the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill in the state then we are prepared for it.”
Congress leader and former MLA, Krishna Hegde said, “Ashok Chavan, Sanjay Nirupam and Manikrao Thakre will accompany senior Congress leaders from all over the country for the Kisan Rally scheduled to be held on 19th April in Delhi.”
A senior Congress leader on the condition of anonymity said, “Many Maharashtra Congress leaders are travelling to take part in the Sunday’s protest under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, out of curiosity and excitement to know, where he was missing”.
Rahul’s sabbatical included a course in silent meditation and anger management. The Congress vice-president was welcomed at his home by his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka. In the morning, a crowd of curious spectators gathered outside his residence. Some of them were Congress workers, who burst firecrackers to welcome their leader. Many Maharashtra Congress leaders too gathered in Delhi to have glimpses of their vice-president. Media crew spent the night outside his bungalow in the tree-shaded Tughlaq Lane.
The rally is being held on the eve of the second phase of the Budget session of Parliament. Mr. Gandhi had skipped the first phase which saw the Congress taking on the government over the land bill. Congress is trying to revive itself by mobilising farmers across the country against the legislation.
Mr Gandhi has presided over a series of electoral disasters for his party, which included a colossal defeat in last year’s national election and the Delhi assembly polls in February. His sudden absence from the political scene gave his rivals another chance to question his leadership qualities and interest in politics. The result of the Mumbai by poll election is another setback for the Congress.
The BJP, meanwhile, took potshots at the Congress vice-president, saying he “ran away” as he had lost all confidence.