NEW DELHI: The Congress, which has decided to make the plight of farmers a major poll plank, plans to hold mega protests in Delhi for presenting itself as a champion of the agrarian community.
After experimenting with protests related to farm crisis in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Haryana over the past one year, it wants to stage a coordinated mega national rally of its own in Delhi on October 23 and another one in January next year.
“We will hold a big farmers rally in Delhi on October 23. Later, we will hold a bigger protest in Delhi in January,” Khet Mazdoor Congress Cell chairperson Nana Patole told TNIE.
The Congress leaders are also in touch with over 100 farmer organizations, urging them to join hands with the party for the rallies. Issues such as hollow promises over MSP hike, crop insurance scheme, farmer suicides, rising input costs, marketing problems and non-payment of dues are some of the points that the Congress will flag against the Centre.
Patole, a former Lok Sabha member from Bhandara-Gondia in Maharashtra, claimed the BJP hardly cared for the farmers and has been only paying lip service to the community.
“BJP chief Amit Shah used to tell us that development does not help in winning elections, otherwise the Congress would not have lost. The Modi government has not done anything for the farmers. I was frustrated with the BJP. Hence, I left them,” he said.
For Patole, the new responsibility of heading the Kisan and Khet Mazdoor cell means that he must live up to the expectations of party chief Rahul Gandhi. “The farmers’ plight will dent the Modi government. We will organize the community and raise their voice.”
Commenting on the recent farmers march to Delhi from western Uttar Pradesh, he said the new group will enter Delhi from all possible routes.
“Planning for the October 23 event has started in coordination with the state units,” he added.