Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday completed a 15 km “samvad padyatra” walking through five villages in intense 40-degree heat in farmer suicide-affected Vidarbha and reassured farmers that his party would stand by them, and fight for resolving their problems.
Arriving in Nagpur late on Wednesday, Mr. Gandhi drove to Gunji village in Amravati, and started the padyatra around 8 am. Over 3000 Congress workers including senior leaders like State Congress Chief Ashok Chavan, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, and Vidarbha Congress leader Manikrao Thakre accompanied him.
Kisaan Padyatra in Amaravati led by Rahul Gandhi. Farmers are in distress due to crop damage. >#RGKisaanPadyatra>pic.twitter.com/s3SlXJzKCN— INC India (@INCIndia) >April 30, 2015
He met several farmers in five villages and discussed the agrarian issues with them. Some of them complained about crop insurance ignoring them, the steep prices of pesticides and fertilisers, and some demanded a loan waiver as they had accumulated debts after repeated crop failures due to unseasonal rains, and hailstorms.
At the last village of Tongalabad, Mr. Gandhi told reporters “Some people say only three suicides have been reported from Maharashtra. Someone in Haryana said farmers forced to commit suicides are cowards, and this government will not help cowards. I want to tell farmers in Maharashtra “Don’t lose heart. We will stand with you. We will fight for you.”
Attacking the Narendra Modi government, Mr. Gandhi accused the NDA government of working for select capitalists. “This is a government for a select group of capitalists. This is not a government for farmers, for workers, for small traders.” Around 4 pm, Mr. Gandhi wrapped up his tour, and headed for Nagpur.
Mr. Gandhi had visited Vidarbha’s farmers seven years ago and highlighted the plight of Kalavati Bandurkar, the widow of a farmer who committed suicide, and her struggle to survive and educate her children.