New Delhi: Signalling a stepped-up campaign against Uttar Pradesh`s Mayawati government ahead of the assembly polls next year, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will address a "Kisan Mahapanchyat" in Aligarh July 9 to raise the issues of farmers including land acquisition.
The party had earlier planned to hold the rally in Bhatta-Parsaul village in Greater Noida - the epicentre of protest by farmers in May over acquisition of their land - but had to shift the venue to Aligarh as it was denied permission by the state government for Bhatta-Parsaul.
"The state government did not give us permission to hold rally in Bhatta Parsaul or any other rural area. We have to hold it in a city so Aligarh was chosen as the venue," state Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters.
She said a reason for choosing Aligarh as the venue of the rally was its rail connectivity which will ease travel for farmers.
Congress leaders said that all issues related to farmers, including problems faced by them regarding availability of power and fertilisers, will be raised at the rally.
"The farmers have been facing atrocities. All issues including land acquisition, payment for their crops, power and fertiliser shortage will be raised," state Congress unit spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh told reporters.
Congress sources said the rally will raise the pitch of the party`s battle for ouster of Mayawati government and contribute to its effort to project itself as the only viable alternative in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress has set itself the goal of coming back to power in the state in the next assembly polls and it has been making efforts to emerge as the most credible voice of opposition.
Gandhi has been personally visiting places where farmers had faced police action. In May this year, he visited Bhatta Parsaul - the epicentre of farmers` agitation for higher compensation for their land, where four persons were killed. Gandhi had visited Tappal in Aligarh last year in support of farmers raising a similar demand.
The Congress has also attacked Mayawati government over "deteriorating" law and order in the state. While the party staged a demonstration in Lucknow last month, Gandhi visited Nighasan in Lakhimpur Kheri district where he met the parents and family of a 14-year old girl allegedly raped and murdered inside a police station.
Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot Sunday visited Noida as part of efforts by the party to mobilise people for the July 9 rally against the alleged misrule of Mayawati government.
Party leaders said the July 9 rally will be a "turning point" in the politics of the state and Gandhi would talk to farmers who have been victims of police action.