Bargarh (Odisha): Embarking on a 'Save Farmer March' in Odisha, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of neglecting farmers and took a dig at the prime minister, asking when will the promised 'achche din' come for them.
Targeting the prime minister on a day when he hit out at the Congress for putting "roadblocks" in NDA government's reforms agenda, Rahul alleged that suicide by distressed farmers have risen "substantially" since its advent and that they have been left to their fate.
The Congress Vice President also repeated the 'Suit Boot Ki Sarkar' jibe at Modi, saying that it works for the interests of "two-three handpicked" corporate people.
Noting that farm loans to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore had been waived during UPA rule, Rahul 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 asking when will the "achhe din" which had been promised to them by Modi before the 2014 general elections come, he said. "When will the achche din come for the farmers?" he asked.
"He (Modi) has made promises. He is good at making promises, probably no 1. But he failed to fulfill even one," he said.
"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 the 'Save Farmer March' at Debahal.
The Congress Vice President started his padyatra after meeting family members of Sanand Kathar, who had recently committed suicide due to abject poverty.
Rahul emphasized that farmer suicides were rising as NDA government 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, he 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, Rahul said labourers engaged in the land being acquired must also be compensated properly, but BJP was against it.
Targeting the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, he said that Patnaik was no different from the Prime Minister and both were "friends". Rahul wanted the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to realise that the voice of the depressed could not not be silenced for long.
The Congress Vice President is on a two-day visit to Odisha where the party is out of power for the past over 15 years.
Hitting out at BJP over corruption, Rahul 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.