New Delhi | Congress is pulling out all the stops for its April 19 farmers’ rally here on land bill, where Rahul Gandhi is set to make his first public appearance after a nearly two-month long sabbatical, with the party launching an aggressive media campaign, besides booking a special train.
It was Rahul Gandhi’s agitation at Bhatta Parsaul in 2011 that had culminated in the UPA’s land bill of 2013, which this government has sought to amend. After the leave, he will come back with renewed vigour and energy. We will do everything to stop this anti-farmer bill, Rajasthan PCC Chief Sachin Pilot said.
The rally is being seen as a sort of a comeback announcement of Rahul and a show of strength by the party, which has been strongly opposing changes in the original Act. Congress is hoping to rally people from various parts of the country with the ‘Chalo Dilli Chale’ slogan which will be seen on hoardings and heard on FM radio channels, where it has booked spots.
The 17-coach ‘Kisan Express’ train carrying farmers will leave from Jaipur and arrive at Delhi after six stops on the rally day. Women too will join the rally. Pilot said that the party has also booked radio spots on FM in Hindi, Marwai and Brij languages to drive home the message that the NDA government is anti-poor.
Hamari Zameen, Hamari Pehchan, Hamra Samman (Our land, our idenity, our honour) is one of the catch-slogans of the rally as the Congress has attempted the link the issue of land acquisition with the survival of the farmers.
The Congress Vice President will be the only leader from the party to share space with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in hoardings for the Kisan-Khet Mazdoor rally, which will carry pictures from Rahul’s 2011 Bhatta Parsaul agitation as well Sonia’s recent visits farmers affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorm in various states. Party general secretary Digvijay Singh has requested all partymen to put up hoardings for farmers rally in this format.
The rally is important as it is being held on the eve of the second phase of the Budget session of Parliament at a time when almost the entire opposition led by Congress has joined ranks against the ordinance, which is being dubbed by them as anti-farmer and pro-corporate.
The party’s jingle seeks to evoke an impression that the self-respect of farmers is at stake and paints the new land bill as one that snatches away the rights of farmers. Besides the jingle, the AICC has also come out with radio spots in Brij and Haryanavi that mention the initiatives taken by the Congress-led UPA for farmers and is dismissive of the NDA government’s defence of the land bill. In the jingle the party declares that that it is a fight to the finish and urges farmers to reject the NDA government’s land acquisition ordinance move, which it dubs as a betrayal.
One of the radio spots featuring a farmer’s son from Haryana takes a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat programme. Seeking to put pressure on the Modi dispensation, the party is planning a massive mobilisation of farmers across the country and has asked its state units to ensure participation of farmers.
The audio spots in Brij and Haryanavi are targeted at farming community in bordering states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana from where the largest gathering is expected in the rally. The party has already announced that Rahul will be addressing the rally along with the Congress President.
Pilot said that while the Kisan Express is a unique attempt by the state unit, farmers from different parts of Rajasthan will also be visiting the national capital in buses and trucks. Starting from Jaipur, the Kisan Express will stop at Bassi, Dausa and Bandikui before reaching Delhi and will cover three districts of Jaipur Rural, Dausa and Alwar.
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