Madhya Pradesh: Rahul Gandhi’s visit galvanises Congress; party eyes all 29 Lok Sabha seats

Congress President Rahul Gandhi issued a stern warning to CM Kamal Nath and ministers to perform, otherwise they would be replaced


LS Herdenia

Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s stern warning to the Chief Minister and Ministers to perform otherwise they will be replaced, declaration by Kamal Nath and Scindia that “Rahul Gandhi is the next Prime Minister of the Country”, and veteran BJP leader Ram Krishna Kusmaria embracing the Congress were some of the highlights of the party’s rally held in Bhopal on Friday, February 8.

The rally was named as the thanksgiving Kisan conclave. It was claimed that Kisans have come to Bhopal to thank Congress President Rahul Gandhi, under whose direction Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath waived the farmers’ loans the next day after assuming power.

Two months after Congress ended its 15-year-old exile of staying out of power in Madhya Pradesh, AICC president Rahul Gandhi arrived in Bhopal on Friday to “thank the state from the heart” and to sound the bugle for the party’s Lok Sabha campaign.

“After winning Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, Congress will form government in Delhi,” Rahul said. Chief Minister Kamal Nath hailed the AICC chief as the “future prime minister” and Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia called for victory in all 29 Lok Sabha seats in MP to “make Rahul the PM.”

Rahul mocked the Narendra Modi government’s ₹6,000 a year assistance to small and marginal farmers. “I had promised farms loan waiver within 10 days of Congress coming to power. Kamal Nath fulfilled the promise and Narendra Modi panicked. I have realised that you can frighten Narendra Modi and get any work done,” Rahul told he gathering.

“I said I will waive loans of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Narendra Modi said he will also work for farmers and then BJP MPs were thumping the tables for five minutes. Dhara-dhar, Dhara-Dhar table thumping. I wondered what did he do? Then I came to know he gave ₹17 per day to India’s farmers. Divide this again by the members of a farming family and it is just ₹3.50 per day per person. And yet the BJP government wrote off ₹ 3.5 lakh crore loans of 15 big industrialists,” Rahul said.

The MP Congress registered big boost when a highly respected former BJP veteran leader Ramkrishna Kusmaria joined the Congress in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. After joining Congress, Kusumaria, a five-term MP and Minister, recalled that “it was Rajmata (Vijayaraje Scindia) who made me a char-anna (four annas) BJP member.”

“Because of the working of the BJP, I had to leave that party and come to the Congress fold and now I am being welcomed by her grandson,” said Kusmaria.

“You know that in the BJP, veterans and elderly are being humiliated. They say Raja Kansa imprisoned his father to rule. Today’s BJP, the party that claims it is traditional, ill treats its veterans. I will work where I am respected and there is opportunity to work”. An emotional Kusmariya, fondly called Babaji by BJP workers, said.

He was still dressed in his trademark saffron kurta, but he received full respect from his new party leaders when he reached the dais.

Congress leaders seated Ramkrishna Kusmaria on the front row with leaders like All India Congress Committee president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Kamal Nath, former chief minister Digvijay Singh, former Union minister Suresh Pachauri and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Kusmaria was asked to address the crowd from the same podium as Rahul Gandhi.

“I come from Bundelkhand. I have been an MP many times and had, as state Agriculture Minister, initiated organic farming. It was during my tenure as Agriculture Minister that Madhya Pradesh repeatedly won the “Krishi Karman award” he said. Kamal Nath, he said, was “a simple and hard working Chief Minister.”

With Kusmaria in the party, Congress will immensely gain in Bundelkhand. The caste to which he belongs has substantial presence in Bundelkhand.

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