Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday undertook a 15-kilometre day-long padyatra in Amravati district of Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region. Maharashtra is one of the states that experienced severe agrarian crisis and Amravati division in Vidarbha region has witnessed many suicide cases of farmers this year.
“There’s feeling of abandonment among farmers. The governments of Maharashtra and at the Centre are ignoring farmers, this is the general feeling among farmers is that, the help which should be given is not being given to them,” said Rahul Gandhi.
“The farmers feel abandoned,” the Congress vice-president said on Thursday evening at end of his “padyatra,” during which he met, among others, the family of farmer Ambadas Wahile, who drank pesticide in February.
Rahul Gandhi continued his attack on the ruling BJP saying, “The role of the government is to comfort people in pain…This government belongs to a select few big businessmen… not to farmers.”
“Those who are committing suicide, is because they are not able to pay back their loans. I had come to Vidarbha earlier too, but have not seen a situation like this. This government is only of few industrialists, not of farmers,” added Rahul Gandhi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dubbed Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘kisan padyatra’ as ‘repentance yatra’, saying that he should repent for the failure of the policies which were not implemented during his party’s regime in Maharashtra.
“The yatra of Rahul Gandhi should be named as repentance yatra. He should repent for the failure of the policies which were not implemented during the Congress regime in Maharashtra,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
Whereas Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government was ready to accept suggestions from him to improve the condition of peasants but he should avoid playing politics over farm issues.
“If Rahul Gandhi has come to Vidarbha to understand the problems of farmers, it is a good thing and we will accept his suggestions to improve their lives. But, if he wants to indulge in politics, we would ignore,” he told reporters here.
Fadnavis reminded the Congress vice-president that it was his party that ruled the State till recently and everybody knew what was the condition of farmers during the 15-year rule of Democratic Front Government.
“We (BJP-led Government) have been here for six months…They ruled for 15 years. Everyone knew what was the condition of farmers (during Congress-NCP rule),” said the Chief Minister, who assumed office in October last year.
Mr. Gandhi’s aggressive campaign against the Modi government’s proposed land reforms ever since he returned from a 56-day sabbatical abroad, is being seen as a comeback not just for him, but also, his partymen’s hope for the Congress, which was decimated by the BJP in the national elections last May and has also faced humiliating defeat in several states, including Maharashtra, since then.