Congress attempts at re-energising Bhatta-Parsaul farmers come a cropper
However, all its efforts to regain ground by using the area as a relaunch-pad for Congress vice-president seems to have failed as the local farmer leaders, who led the massive agitation, have alleged hijacking of entire movement by the ‘parachute leaders’ of the party.
The much-hyped activities of senior Congress leaders in the area for the past three-four months turned out to be a damp squib. The Congress has seen a low turnout during meetings, rallies and <g data-gr-id="34">padyatra</g> organised by senior leaders like Jairam Ramesh, Shakeel Ahmed, Amrinder Singh Raja, Rita Bahuguna Joshi along with local leadership.
The party, in order to relaunch Rahul Gandhi proposed to target the land acquisition bill of the NDA government and announced a fresh agitation in January this year. After convening several rounds of meetings with farmer leaders, it was decided to organise rallies. Jairam Ramesh, a member of Rahul Gandhi’s core team, organised the first rally on January 14 and thereafter began camping in the twin villages against “dilution” of the Land Acquisition Act.
“It’s true that Rahul Gandhi gave a platform to the farmers’ agitation but it failed to gain momentum this time,” said Dushyant <g data-gr-id="30">Naagar</g>, Convener of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS). From January to <g data-gr-id="37">mid March</g>, party leaders organised more than <g data-gr-id="32">half dozen</g> rallies exhorting people to come out in support. After a lukewarm response from farmers, it announced a <g data-gr-id="33">padyatra</g> from the same area for Parliament gherao on March 16 under the leadership of Gandhi.
The Congress vice -president skipped the show claiming that had gone on a sabbatical to reflect on the party’s future course, but sources claimed that he gave it a miss following the tepid response of farmers during party rallies.
After Gandhi’s return from his sabbatical fresh initiatives have been taken to revive the movement ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament but it has not yielded results. “Congress leaders made all out efforts to mobilise popular support. They pushed <g data-gr-id="35">high profile</g> leaders who failed to strike the right chord with locals. Days before the <g data-gr-id="36">padyatra</g>, Gandhi was informed about the situation which forced him to skip it,” said Manveer Tewatia, who led the agitation earlier.