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After Land Bill protest, Sonia Gandhi promises to fight for farmers

Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi met farmers in Bhiwani and Karnal areas of Haryana on Saturday a day after taking stock of the crop damage in parts of Rajasthan.

Amit Agnihotri | March 22, 2015 | Updated 10:48 IST
Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi interacts with farmers in Rewari, Haryana, on Saturday. (Photo: Qamar Sibtain)

Upping the ante against the NDA government, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday listened to the woes of farmers whose crop has been damaged due to recent rains and hailstorm and promised to take up their voice in the national capital.

The move to meet farmers in Bhiwani and Karnal areas of Haryana on Saturday came a day after Sonia took stock of the crop damage in parts of neighbouring Rajasthan.

Having protested against the controversial "anti-farmer" Land Acquisition Bill brought in by the NDA government, Sonia is now reaching out to the farmers in BJP-ruled Rajasthan and Haryana as part of her plan to further consolidate her party's rural vote bank.

"The wheat and mustard crops have been damaged. The farmers need to be compensated. I appeal to the governments to give them immediate relief," Sonia said after she heard the villagers at Baragaon in Karnal.

Karnal is the Assembly constituency of Haryana chief minister ML Khattar.

"Around 40-60 per cent our wheat crop has been damaged in the recent rain and hailstorm. We told Sonia ji about our woes. She heard us and assured to help us," Puran Singh Sangwan, sarpanch of Baragaon, told Mail Today later. "We are under debt now as our crop has been damaged. We need to be compensated with a financial package," Bhagat Ram of the same village said.

He argued that as most farmers have suffered due to the rains, the compensation should be at least Rs 20,000 per hectare.

The story in village Dabkoli Kalan, around seven kilometers from Baragaon was the same.

The villagers in Karnal are miffed that neither the Centre nor the state government has come to their rescue so far.

"We had voted for the BJP in the hope of betterment. But we feel cheated now," said Sangwan. "No local authority has visited us so far," said Rajpal.

Bhagat Ram complained that when they approached State Minister for Food Karan Deo Kamboj for help, he told them the government will address their concerns after the Assembly session ends.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, AICC communication department chairman Randeep Surjewala, Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and former Union minister Kumari Selja accompanied Sonia in Haryana.

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