AS RAHUL Gandhi’s ‘Kisan Yatra’ entered day three, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was once again the main focus of the Congress vice-president. Repeatedly using the slogan ‘Janta trast hai, Modi ji mast hain (public suffers, Modi uncaring)’, Rahul told people at every crossing where he stopped in Basti and Gonda that he had to undertake this yatra to draw the PM’s attention towards the poor and weaker sections.
Blaming Modi for everything — right from the increase in train fare, price rise, unemployment and lower minimum support price for crops — Rahul said: “The focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is towards visiting America, Japan and Australia, in shaking hands with (US President Barrack) Obama and waiving loans of his industrialist friends…”
At the end of his campaign for the day, he told farmers at a Khaat Sabha in Gonda that “for the first time, the Prime Minister of the country needs to be told that there are poor people as well in this country.” While Rahul did not get down from his bus at most crossings and preferred to address the public from the stairs, he kept on asking similar questions to the people — “kya Narendra Modi ko kisan ka karja maaf karna chahiye, kya Narendra Modi ne rojgaar diya and kya apke account mein Rs 15,000 aya”, among others.
Rahul began his day by garlanding the statue of writer Acharya Ram Chandra Shukla in Basti. Before he reached the khaat sabha venue in Gonda late in the evening, the stage was set for him. While the first day of the yatra saw villagers leaving with the khaats, eyes of all volunteers on Thursday were on the khaats and cane stools that were brought in for the sabha. Some probable candidates were also found handing over lists of names of people they had brought along to the sabha, to members of poll strategist Prashant Kishore’s team.
At the khaat sabha, a farmer asked Rahul that “with Congress trying to woo forward castes by making Sheila Dikshit the party’s CM candidate, did he have anything to offer for backwards and most backward classes”. In reply, Rahul promised that while the party has named Dikshit as the CM candidate, when it comes to distributing party tickets, every caste would be given due consideration.
“Congress will form its government in the state,” Rahul concluded, as he started his journey towards Faizabad. Soon after, volunteers became busy in ensuring that the khaats are not taken away this time.