Rahul Gandhi continued his footmarch through Mayawati’s backyard on Wednesday, wading through surging crowds of farmers and touching an emotional chord all the way. After kicking off his padyatra from the epicentre of the farmers’ agitation, Bhatta Parsaul , Rahul continued to trudge through villages along the Yamuna Expressway, which have been wracked by farmer discontent. And the Gandhi scion seemed undeterred even as the Mayawati government imposed Section 144 in Tappal – his last stop of his padyatra.
After spending the night in the open at Rampur Bangar, he resumed his march in the wee hours and entered Shabota and then Alawalpur village. Clad in starched white kurta pyjama, he mingled with farmers, women and children, raising the pitch against forcible land acquisition and lambasting the Mayawati government . He could be seen eating rotis sitting on charpai and interacting with farmers on a choupal. A march billed as a campaign to mobilise farmers ahead of the Congress’ proposed kisan mahapanchayat in Aligarh district on July 9.
State government officials said that Rahul’s padyatra could be halted at Aligarh as curbs have been imposed in the district. But SSP, Aligarh, Satyendra Vir Singh said though Section 144 has been in force all over the district, Rahul may be allowed entry into Tappal if there was no law and order problem.
Rahul told farmers that chief minister Mayawati had “failed to implement the new land policy in spirit and many farmers have been denied their rights” .
There is heavy police deployment at Sairol where Rahul and his supporters are camping for the night. Senior police officers insist it is purely a precautionary measure.
Asserting that the Mayawati government should “understand its responsibilities ,” Rahul told villagers in Alawalpur to stand up to the anti-farmer policies of the state government. “People were killed in Bhatta-Parsaul , but it was said that nothing happened. People were killed in Tappal. Your voice must be heard,” he said in Alawalpur, where he camped in a villager, Rambir Sharma’s house till 4 pm.
“I have not met a single farmer who is against development. But they must get the market rates as in the case of land owners in cities like Delhi,” he said.
Rahul’s next stop was Budaka village where media persons were kept at bay and he took a brief round of the village. From here he moved to Sairol, where he addressed a chaupal.
Here he discussed the land acquisition problem. Most farmers complained about the meagre compensation offered to them. “The state government was looting land from farmers and those responsible must be punished.” Referring to the Supreme Court order that stayed denotification of land in Greater Noida , Rahul said the acquisition process seemed unfair as large swathes of land were being acquired by the government and farmers were being given paltry compensation.
Rahul blasted Mayawati for “making an eyewash of the new land acquisition and rehabilitation policy” . He said he would pressurize the BSP government to give farmers their due. “The CM says farmers can now sell land directly to builders. But this policy is not applicable in industrial townships. What about farmers whose land was acquired here and they faced bullets and humiliation for protesting the process? How can we forget your loss,” he said. Economic Times