Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of bias towards the rich as he began a 2,500-km ‘Kisan Yatra’ in election-bound Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a crowd at Rudrapur in Deoria district, Gandhi said the Prime Minister wanted to waive off loans of the rich but wasn’t ready to do that in the case of farmers.
“Modiji must waive off loans taken by farmers in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in the country,” he said to applause.
“We have embarked on this Yatra to know the problems of the farmers and to help Modiji understand the situation too.”
The Congress leader also urged the government slash the electricity tariff by 50 percent and hike the minimum support price given to farmers’ produce.
The Gandhi scion was greeted by huge crowds.
While no one was allowed near the helipad or earlier when he landed with party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Deoria, Gandhi later went to a Dalit settlement and interacted briefly with people there.
He offered prayers at a Shiva temple – Baba Dugdheshwarnath – and then started his Yatra in a specially designed bus.
Gandhi’s office said the Yatra will cover 39 districts as well as 55 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
“Door-to-door campaign begins from village Pachladi. Met farmers and collected Kisan Maang Patras outlining their demands,” Gandhi’s official twitter handle said.
“Arrived in Rudrapur to a warm welcome and great enthusiasm. Join @INCIndia on this Kisan Yatra as we fight for rights of farmers, labourers and the poor,” Gandhi tweeted earlier.
On way, the entourage was welcomed by crowds and students who showered rose petals on the vehicles. Gandhi repeatedly waved at them.
He is scheduled to hold a “khaat chaupal” at the Satasi Inter College, after which he will go to Ramlakhan square from where he will drive to Deoria.
After a brief stop in the city, his entourage is set to drive to Rampur Karkhana, Tarkulwa and other places where he will address ‘nukkad sabhas’.
He will spend the night at the Gorakhpur circuit house.
During the month-long campaign, there will also be roadshows in small and big towns but no large public meeting, Congress leaders said.
Uttar Pradesh will see assembly elections early next year.