Rahul Gandhi begins UP campaign, holds ‘khaat sabhas’with farmers


Kick-starting his 2500 km-long Kisan Yatra in a bid to capture power in the politically important state of UP, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday met farmers, promising loan waiver and reduction in power tariff by 50 per cent if voted to power in the 2017 Assembly polls.

The ‘Deoria to Dilli yatra’ is part of the Congress campaign to end its 27-year exile from power in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress leader reached here around 10.45 AM by chopper and started knocking at the doors of farmers.

In a tweet, Gandhi requested the people to join Congress in this ‘yatra’ as he and his party are fighting for the rights of farmers, labourers and the poor.

“Door to door campaign begins from village Pachladi. Met farmers, & collected Kisan Maang Patras outlining their demands,” he said in another tweet.

Accompanied by party colleague and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, the 46-year-old Congress leader visited houses of farmers and collected ‘Kisan Mangpatras’ (charters of farmers demands) and interacted with them one-to-one as part of his “Khaat Sabha”.

“Rahul ji came here and listened to us patiently. He collected details of my outstanding loan and also noted down my mobile number. He assured me that if Congress comes to power in the state, then his party will waive off farmers’ loans and slash power tariff by 50 per cent,” Om Prakash Singh, a farmer, told PTI.

The Gandhi scion also spoke to “our family members, especially children and asked about their studies and future plans,” another farmer said.

Gandhi will hold road shows at various places during the yatra.

On the first two days of the yatra, Gandhi will cover Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, Sant Kabirnagar and Basti besides Deoria.

The party has made preparations for making the Congress leader’s longest yatra in the state a success.

A team of national spokesmen will also be stationed in Lucknow to apprise media of the developments.

Gandhi will make a night halt in Gorakhpur before embarking further on the journey. He will hold similar interactions with farmers and roadshows the next day and will spend the second night at Basti.

During the mahayatra, the Congress leader will cover as many as 233 Assembly constituencies to reach out to people ahead of crucial polls slated early next year.

The mahayatra comes after the successful road show of Sonia Gandhi earlier last month and the two yatras of state party leaders in various districts of the state.

(With PTI inputs)