Priyanka Gandhi bowls over Jats and farmers in Muzaffarnagar
<b>Addressing around 50,000 people on Saturday barely 10 km from Sisouli, the epicentre of farmers’ protests in Western UP, the Congress leader established a rapport with her audience like never before</b>
This was the third farmers’ rally addressed by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the last few weeks. While Muslim farmers thronged her rallies at Saharanpur and Bijnor, today in Muzaffarnagar Jats and Gurjars assembled in large numbers to listen to her. And judging by their reaction, they were bowled over by Priyanka Gandhi.
The major takeaways from today’s rally:
1. In 1987 it was my father’s government which bowed down before farmers and conceded their damands, she told the crowd, evoking the massive protest led by Mahendra Singh Tikait. Thousands of tractors and farmers had occupied the Boat Club in Delhi till the Congress Government conceded their demand, she recalled, drawing parallels with the present farmers’ movement. Even after 215 farmers have died and thousands have been camping at Delhi’s doorstep, the Modi Government has turned a deaf ear to the farmers.
2. As soon as she reached the dias, she ensured that farmer leaders sitting in the back rows are moved to the front row to sit by her side. The gesture won over the crowd which broke out in spontaneous cries of ‘Priyanka Gandhi Zindabad’.
3. INC leaders looked worried at Noon with more Congress workers and media present at the venue than farmers. The weather till then was foggy and there was a chill in the air. But the sun broke out of the clouds soon after Noon and magically the ground filled up in double quick time. By the time the Congress leader arrived around 2 pm, the crowd spilled over to neighbouring roofs and bus tops.
4. She spoke about the dues pending to sugarcane farmers and pointed out that sugarcane procurement prices had not been increased in the last four years. The government’s priorities were different, she said, and if it had been serious, money was not a constraint. Instead of spending money on aircrafts, foreign travel, publicity and the central vista, it would have cleared the farmers’ dues.
5. Taking a swipe at the Prime Minister, she said that the Prime Minister is worried about everything else that is happening in the world but has no time for farmers sitting barely 10 kilometres from his residence.
Senior citizen and a farmer Rajvir Chaudhary, who was in the audience, recalled that he was at the Boat Club in 1987. He approvingly quoted Priyanka Gandhi and said this government is undoubtedly the worst he has come across.
Speakers also spoke of Jat-Muslim unity. Chaudhary Sanjay Leelon said that attempts were successful in driving a wedge between Jats and Muslims. Referring to the riots in 2013 he vowed that it should not be repeated again. Addressing the gathering, Haryana Congress leader Deepender Hooda said in Haryana farmers were forcing BJP leaders to tender apologies and had banned their entry into their villages.