NDA trying to snatch away farmers' land, hand them over to corporates: Rahul Gandhi

Bargarh (Odisha): Mounting a scathing attack on BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for 'neglecting' farmers, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi regime of 'trying to snatch land from poor peasants and hand them over to corporates'

"BJP-led NDA seeks to snatch away precious land from poor farmers and dislodge them without seeking their views. The Centre wants to hand over peasants' land to corporates," he said while launching a 'Save Farmer March' at Debahal in this western Odisha district.

The Congress Vice President started his padyatra after meeting family members of Sanand Kathar, who had recently committed suicide due to abject poverty.

Gandhi emphasized that farmer suicides were rising as NDA has been neglecting them since it came to power over a year ago.

Accusing the Centre of scrapping various steps taken by Congress-led UPA for the welfare and progress of farmers, the leader said Congress always worked to safeguard the interest of peasants and the land acquisition measure brought by it provided for adequate compensation.

While the UPA legislated for land acquisition only after asking farmers, BJP was bent upon snatching land from peasants without seeking their views and had brought Ordinance twice for the purpose, he said.

Asserting that Congress always favoured adequate compensation at market rate to farmers parting with their land, Gandhi said labourers engaged in the land being acquired must also be compensated properly, but BJP was against it.

The government was even planning to acquire land up to two km on both sides of national highways, he alleged. Describing farmers as the backbone of the country, the Congress leader said the government must work for protecting their interests as they feed people by working round the clock.

However, BJP government was not taking any farmer-friendly measure and instead trying to uproot them, he said. Noting that farm loans to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore had been waived during UPA rule, Gandhi said farmers needed support in the form of irrigation, fertilisers and other items for raising crops properly.

But the NDA government had been paying little attention to their needs and farmers were now wondering about 'Achhe Din' which had been promised by Modi before last general elections, he charged.

Claiming that there was friendship between Modi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Congress leader said both should realise it was not easy to suppress farmers.

Hitting out at BJP over corruption, Gandhi said Modi was silent on issues like Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh and Lalit Modi episode in which names of Rajasthan Chief Minister and External Affairs Minister were linked. He said that farmers, labourers, tribals and poor people would continue to fight for their rights and justice.

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