Hanumangarh: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who arrived in Rajasthan on Thursday, said his party will not let the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government grab land from the people.
Gearing up to take on the government in Parliament, Gandhi accused the NDA of denying rights to the poor, farmers and tribals.
Undertaking an 8-km 'padyatra' in the villages of the desert state, a day after Congress chief ministers boycotted the NITI Aayog meeting convened by the Prime Minister on the contentious legislation, Gandhi also attacked Narendra Modi for his "silence" on corruption.
"You are being subjected to oppression. I have come here today to assure you that Congress party will fight with the BJP and NDA not just in Rajasthan but in the entire country. We will not let them take even a single inch of land. We will not allow the BJP to move forward a single inch.”
"You should not worry. Congress is a party of the poor, farmers and labourers. Whenever you are troubled, you will find the Congress party by your side," he said on the first of his two-day visit to the desert state.
Rahul, who has reached out to farmers with 'padyatra' in various parts of the country including Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh in recent months mounting pressure on the Centre on the land bill, also attacked Modi for his silence on corruption.
"The Prime Minister said he will not take bribe himself nor will allow anybody else to take it. He never said he will keep quiet and say nothing when corruption takes place," the Congress vice president said addressing villagers in Khotanwali, Surawali and Amarsingh wala, where his padyatra ended in Hanumangarh district.
He raked up a host of controversies including the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh and the "mini-Modi" issue in Rajasthan, apparently referring to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's links with the controversial former IPL boss Lalit Modi, wanted by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in connection with alleged money laundering related to the T20 cricket tournament.
Taking on the Modi government and Raje on her own turf, he said, "Probably the number of issues BJP, Narendra Modi and the Rajasthan Chief Minister have given to Congress party we could not have even imagined. They gave us the land issue and issues of tribals, corruption, the Vyapam scam and that of Mini-Modi issue here."
"There is corruption of different kinds in Rajasthan. You all know of the Chief Minister's corruption...You are being subjected to oppression and killed. The future of your children is being snatched away," he said and assured the farmers that Congress will stand like a "wall" before them whenever they are subjected to oppression.
Rahul held a 'public hearing' in Khotawali village where farmers shared there grievances with him.
He met veteran Congress leader Shyokaran Ram at his residence before commencing the eight-kilometre march accompanied by former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, State Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and AICC general secretary Gurudas Kamat.
By asking its chief ministers to boycott the NITI Aayog meeting on the land bill yesterday, Congress has sent a clear message it will take further its battle against the Modi government on the issue in Parliament during the Monsoon Session.
Rahul had led the opposition attack against the bill both outside and within Parliament during the Budget Session where he alleged the "suit-boot ki sarkar" had neglected the farmers and was working only for capitalists.
(With PTI inputs)