NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections which are expected to be held sometime in April-May, the Congress hopes to revive its fortunes across rural India by recreating the famous 1917 Champaran movement in Bihar where Mahatma Gandhi became the voice of the farmers against British rule.
The Congress, which has decided to make the plight of farmers a key poll plank, will roll out its nationwide campaign from Champaran on Jan 25 and 26 and will conduct similar marches across states in the following weeks.
The drive will culminate on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day at his memorial in Delhi.
“The Modi government has not met even a single demand made by Rahul Gandhi [Congress president] to improve a lot of farmers,” All India Congress Committee Kisan cell chairman Nana Patole said.
“Around 15,000 farmers will converge at Rajghat on Jan 30. We will send out a national message for the farmers from there,” he said.
On February 3, Rahul will address a huge farmers’ rally at the Gandhi Maidan in Bihar’s capital Patna to express solidarity with rural India.
“None of the demands have been met. I have visited PM’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi where the farmers wrote to him in their own blood urging Modi to address their concerns,” said Patole.
Countering the view that loan waivers are not long term solutions, party strategists said these were first steps and more needed to be done to make agriculture a profitable activity.
Noting that farm sector growth actually dropped under NDA, party insiders said if the Congress was voted to power, the PM’s crop insurance scheme will be cancelled.
loan waiver politics
Commenting on the politics of loan-waivers, sources in the party said the promise helped the Congress regain power in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in the recently held Assembly polls and put the Central government in the dock.
Among the key demands made by Rahul when he slammed the Centre over rural distress was compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre, a nationwide loan waiver, a farmers’ commission and jobs for the children of farmers.