NEW DELHI - Ahead of a massive 'Kisan-Khet Mazdoor' rally on Sunday, Congress Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi met with farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab at his office in Delhi.
This meeting on Saturday morning was Gandhi's first public appearance since he returned from his nearly two-month-long sabbatical, earlier this week. Gandhi was accompanied by other senior Congress leaders including Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot and Bhupendra Singh Hooda.
“Tomorrow’s rally would be a historic rally. Lakhs of farmers from across the country will get together in Delhi and we want to expose this BJP government for the way farmers have been duped only to pay back favours of some people. The BJP is conspiring to take over the land of small farmers,” said Pilot, PTI reported.
The delegation included farmers from Bhatta Parsaul village from where Rahul had launched a “padyatra” in 2011 against forcible land acquisition of farmers, which led to the passage of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
During his absence, Congress Party president and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, mounted an attack against the Modi government's Land Acquisition Bill which will make it easier to acquire land from farmers for key projects.
On Friday, Gandhi skipped a crucial Congress Party meeting on preparations for the kisan rally at the Ram Lila Maidan. A Kisan Express train with 17 coaches, which will make six stops from Jaipur to Delhi, has been organised to ferry farmers on the rally day.
Gandhi is expected to address the rally, which will be a major show of strength for the Congress Party, and a "comeback" for 44-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty into the political battleground.
On Thursday, Congress Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala described Gandhi as a "mature" leader who will meet even those leaders who have reservations about his being at the helm of the party.