Kick-starting his 2,500 km-long “kisan yatra” in a bid to capture power in the politically important State of Uttar Pradesh, 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 a Congress campaign to end its 27-year exile from power in the State.
The Congress leader reached Deoria around 10.45 a.m. by a chopper and started knocking at the doors of farmers.
In a tweet, he requested the people to join the 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 the Opposition in the 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 the Congress comes to power in the State, then his party will waive farmers’ loans and slash power tariff by 50 per cent,” Om Prakash Singh, a farmer, told PTI .
Mr. Gandhi also spoke to “our family members, especially children and asked about their studies and future plans,” another farmer said.
Mr. Gandhi will hold road shows at various places during the yatra.
On the first two days of the yatra, he 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.
Mr. 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.
He will cover as many as 233 Assembly constituencies. The yatra comes after the road show of Sonia Gandhi earlier last month and the two yatras of State party leaders in various districts.