Aligarh: Braving heavy rains, farmers and
Congress workers on Saturday gathered here for the `kisan
mahapanchayat`, marking the culmination of Rahul Gandhi`s
four-day foot march in Uttar Pradesh.
Travelling in buses, trucks and tractor-trolleys, the
villagers arrived from the wee hours at the sprawling Nomaish
Ground here, amid tight security.
Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, Union
Ministers Sachin Pilot and Jitin Prasad and state unit
president Rita Bahuguna Joshi were among those present.
Heavy rains, however, led to waterlogginng at the
venue and also damaged the waterproof tents erected for the
assembly to be addressed by Rahul. But the crowds soon began
to surge as the showers stopped.
"We have come here because we are hopeful that Rahul
Gandhi`s leadership will herald change in Uttar Pradesh," said
a Congress leader from Meerut J P Singh, who has been camping
here since last night.
With Congress leaders and workers thronging the town,
no hotel accommodation was available in the area.
Huge posters of Rahul Gandhi dominated the complex.
Four big hoardings on the stage had pictures of Congress chief
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Joshi and AICC incharge for UP Digvijay
A muti-tier security ring was in place in and around
the venue. On Thursday, Rahul faced a security scare when a
young man carrying a licensed revolver was detained while
trying to move close to him in Tappal during the `padyatra`.
Rahul yesterday wound up his foot march through the
dusty heartlands of rural Uttar Pradesh and returned to
Describing the padayatra as an unforgettable
experience that has enlightened him of the farmers problems,
the Gandhi scion had said, "I have learnt a lot after talking
to you. I am young and from you I have gained a world of
knowledge on land acquisition issues...I can never forget all
this all my lifetime and the fact that I am taking back so
much from you.
"You have the same knowledge as those sitting in the
Planning Commission and those making the laws...What I have
acquired from you here, I could never have acquired sitting in
Delhi," he had said.
The foot march, flagged off from Bhatta on Tuesday, saw
the Congress leader spanning over 70 km in hot and sultry
"The yatra was a mass awakening call for the farmers...I
have already achieved what I set out to achieve. I am more
than pleased. I wanted to bring this matter on the national
radar and help farmers voice their concerns. I have done
that," Gandhi had said.
While interacting with Gandhi during the foot march, the
farmers demanded adequate compensation for their land, jobs in
lieu of acquired lands, enhanced compensation for fertile land
and compensation in lieu of tubewells that get acquired along
with swathes of land.