Congress plans farmers' siege of Parliament on Oct 23

Congress plans farmers' siege of Parliament on Oct 23

Police use water cannons to disperse farmers protesting at Delhi-UP border during 'Kisan Kranti Padyatra' in New Delhi, on October 2, 2018. PTI

After reviving its farmers' cell, the Congress is drawing up plans to lay siege to Parliament by organising its own farmer's rally on October 23.

With agrarian issues taking a centre-stage on the election campaign, the Congress has put former BJP MP Nana Patole in-charge of the farmer's cell that was defunct for the past seven years.

Patole, who quit the BJP in December last year hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's farm policies, was appointed as the Chairman of the Kisan, Khet Mazdoor Congress in September.

Addressing a meeting of party workers from across the country, Patole asked them to prepare for a farmer's dharna of Parliament House on October 23.

The farmer's cell of the Congress was inactive for nearly seven years after veteran Haryana leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala quit the post citing advanced age.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been raising farmers' issues and the need for the revival of the farmers' cell was felt to sharpen the attack of the party on the Modi government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Patole is busy drawing up plans for campaigning in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh where farmers have been agitating over inadequate remunerative prices for farm produce.

The police firing on farmers at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh pitch-forked the agrarian distress at the centre-stage of the political discourse and the Congress realised the acute need of having a dedicated cell to address a crucial constituency.

Last week, when farmers under the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) banner laid siege of the UP-Delhi border, the Congress was planning to send a delegation of leaders to express solidarity with them.

However, by the time Congress leaders reached Delhi from Wardha where they had gathered for the meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the BKU leaders had ended their agitation and left for their respective villages.