July 6, 2011 4:20:55 am
With the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections less than a year away,Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday threw a fresh challenge at Chief Minister Mayawati by visiting the epicentre of the recent farmers’ agitation over land acquisition Bhatta-Parsaul and launching a padayatra to garner support for his Kisan Mahapanchayat.
The padayatra,Kisan Sandesh Yatra,will culminate on July 9 in Aligarh,where Rahul is scheduled to address the Kisan Mahapanchayat. Rahul will tour villages alongside the Yamuna Expressway till Aligarh.
Till evening,Rahul walked around 25 km on foot,according to UPCC spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh,who is accompanying him.
Starting from Bhatta village in Greater Noida,around 6.30 am,Rahul visited five villages of Gautam Budh Nagar district,meeting farmers and asking them about problems they faced.
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In three villages Rustampur,Nangla Bhatona and Dayanatpur he held ‘choupals’ or informal gatherings,to interact with the villagers.
Most villagers expressed anguish against land acquisition in the state and complained of insufficient compensation.
In Rustampur,where he held the first choupal,Rahul stayed for almost an hour. “I have come today to meet all of you. I assure you all that the situation of utter chaos in Uttar Pradesh will be normalised. You all should know that I am with you,” Rahul told the villagers.
“I went to Bhatta-Parsaul some time ago. Only I and the villagers know the truth of those villages. I know land is the biggest problem here. From Delhi,we tried to resolve your problems but at such far distance it is impossible to understand what you are going through. That is why I have come here,” Rahul said at Nangla Bhatona.
He asked the people specific questions about the land acquisition,and whether they were aware of the rules.
I know that poor people would like to give their land for development but when they know that rich people get their land at market price and they get peanuts,it is injustice to the poor, he said.
He asked the people what compensation they received and the market price of their land. I received compensation of Rs 650 per sq mt and my lands market price is Rs 14,000 per sq mt, a villager replied.
The villagers alleged that the administration does not inform them when their land was being acquired. The acquisition was done on paper,said Bhim Singh of Rustampur village.
Apart from the land acquisition issue,the villagers also discussed a few other things with the Congress general secretary. Some wanted Rahul to denounce higher posts in the government in future just like her mother.
A villager,Niranjan Singh,said,We want you to denounce your Prime Ministership in future to become chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. You should also sacrifice for the welfare of the common people of Uttar Pradesh just like your mother.
Rahul left Nangla around 5 pm,making Dayanatpur his next stop. He stayed there for 20 minutes before starting his padayatra to Jevar where he was likely to make a night halt.
With PTI inputs
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