New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi ended the first phase of his Kisan Yatra in poll bound Uttar Pradesh demanding a ‘Kisan budget’ from the Narendra Modi government and promising that loans of UP farmers will be waived off within 10 days of forming the government in the state. Gandhi said since coming to power, the Modi government had waived loans worth Rs 1 lakh 10 thousand crore but was mysteriously silent on it.
“If he can waive the debt of his corporate friends then why not of thousands of farmers,” Mr. Gandhi asked.
Criticising the Modi government for doing away with a separate Railway Budget, and alleging that it was to hide the money earned by the government’s “industrialist friends,” Mr. Gandhi suggested that the government introduce a “Kisan Budget” for the interest of farmers. The Kisan Budget would ensure that farmers get a good price for their produce and give them clarity on their bonuses, Mr. Gandhi said, adding that it would bring transparency.
Mr. Gandhi said the farmers trusted the Congress as it had fought to save their land, for instance in Bhatta Parsaul in western U.P. in 2011. “Modiji tried to snatch away your land thrice,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi’s road show may not have succeeded in pulling the crowds intially but as it approached the bylanes of the Old City, people leaned out of their windows and came out to the streets to catch a glimpse. The cavalcade was powered by its top leaders including Sheila Dikshit, Raj Babbar and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The road show was also high on symbolism, as he visited religious places of all major communities. Starting with a visit to the St Joseph’s Cathedral, he followed it up with a brief stop at the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulema, a leading institute of Islamic learning, before a visit to the SriRaidas Mandir Allpanch. He then paid his respect at the gurudwara at Yahiyaganj. He also balanced his visit to Nadwa, by calling upon a delegation of the Shia community.