KOCHI: After taking up the cause of farmers and poor in north Indian states, All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he would take up the issues of rubber and cardamom farmers along with those of the fisherfolk of the state in Parliament. Speaking to reporters after a conciliatory between the representatives of rubber farmers in the state at Aluva Palace, he said: “We will take up the farmers issues... Will take up the issues of rubber farmers, cardamom farmers and fishermen in Parliament and we would fight for the weak and those who are struggling in the country and make sure that their voices are heard.”
Criticising the Modi government, he said: “The five powerful friends of the Modi government are happy in the ruling of the present dispensation and rest of the India is wondering what is happening in India. We will do all possible to make the voice of farmers, weak and the poor heard,” he added.
Speaking to rubber farmers at a meeting organised at the Palace, he heard the woes of he farmers collectively. Later, he assured the farmers that he would draw the attention of the Central government to the plight of the farmers and address their issues inside and outside Parliament. During the meeting, Gandhi at one point said he was even ready to come to Kerala to hold a ‘padayatra’ through the heartland of the rubber growers in Kerala to invite the attention of the Centre to the grave issues of rubber farmers. However, no formal decision was taken in this regard at the meeting, said Tomy Kallani, Kottayam DCC president who attended the meeting. V M Sudheeran who spoke at the meeting suggested the Chief Minister to hold a meeting of rubber farmers and submit a report to the AICC vice-president.
The Chief Minister said he was ready to extend all possible help to address the issues of the farmers. During the one-hour meeting, Rahul was apprised about the social, economic and environmental impact of steep fall in rubber prices in the state.
Representatives of as many as 18 rubber farmers bodies attended the meeting. The farmers associations owing allegiance to the CPM and BJP stayed out of the meeting.