Rahul Gandhi will not be present today when Congress begins its padyatra from Bhatta Parsaul in Uttar Pradesh against the new land acquisition law.
Rahul, who had spearheaded an agitation in 2011 from the same village against forcible land acquisition of farmers that had culminated into enactment of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, will not flag off the foot march there or participate in Parliament gherao by Congress leaders on March 16 on the issue, party sources said.
Rahul, who had gone on a sabbatical to reflect on party’s future course and recent events just before the commencement of the Budget Session on February 23, is yet to return from leave and indications are that he may not be back till the first part of the session concludes on March 20.
His leave period as such may end up being one month-long.
The foot march from Bhatta Parsaul to Parliament is being
led by the youth and other wings of Congress with various farmers organisations against the new law.
“We oppose the ordinance and the amendments brought in the bill. We will embark on a foot march from Bhatta Parsaul on Friday towards Parliament and gherao it to foil the government’s plans to help capitalists through the measure,” said UPCC spokesperson Dhirendra Singh.
Youth Congress President Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, who will participate in the rally along with former Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, told PTI that during the agitation, farmers and workers from Congress will halt at different villages.
He said that before the Parliament gherao on March 16, all Congress leaders will gather at Rajghat. The foot march is primarily being organized by Youth Congress.
Meanwhile, the party dismissed as “canards of vested interests” speculation that Rahul has extended his sabbatical.
“We would urge friends of media not to believe in canards being spread by vested interests. Respect the privacy of Gandhi and his decision to introspect for strengthening the Congress party by taking a regular leave from Congress President and leadership.
“As and when we have information, we will let you know,” party spokesperson and in-charge of Communication Department Randip Surjewala said.