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Rahul says UPA to bring new land acquisition bill
* He takes on Mayawati at mahapanchayat rally * Woos farmers for Cong ‘Mission UP’ strategy
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Aligarh, July 9
With clear focus on party’s Mission UP 2012, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today accused the BSP-led Mayawati government of giving farmers’ land to rich builders and claimed that those demanding compensation were sprayed with bullets.

Rahul’s four-day padyatra for the rights of farmers culminated at the much-anticipated kisan mahapanchayat at Numaish Maidan in Aligarh. However, to those waiting patiently for him since morning despite heavy rain, he had nothing new to offer in his 15-minute speech.

There were oft-repeated comparisons between ‘good boy Haryana’ and ‘bad boy Uttar Pradesh’ as far as the land acquisition policy was concerned along with some more Mayawati-bashing.

Flanked by Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Jitin Prasada, RPN Singh, Salman Khurshid and Sriprakash Jaiswal on the stage, Rahul promised to rectify farmers’ problems with a brand new land acquisition Bill that the UPA would “soon” bring in the Parliament.

“We will try our best to give a Bill that will benefit both farmers and labourers,” he assured. However, Rahul said, a law alone cannot alleviate farmers’ problems. “The old bill works for Haryana but it doesn’t work for UP. It is because Haryana goes to farmers and talks to them before acquiring the land for development. In UP, farmers come to know only after their land has been acquired and when the builder actually lands at their doorstep,” he explained “Farmers have told me that they are not against development provided they are given the right compensation. But when land is acquired in Haryana, the farmers get proper compensation and in UP they get bullets,” added Rahul.

Though there was a huge crowd, anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000, but what appeared to be missing were farmers, for whom the “mahapanchayat” had been convened. A majority of those who were present seemed to be ticket aspirants for the next Assembly elections or wannabe leaders along with their entourage. Villagers had travelled to Aligarh from far-off places in UP but they appeared to have been brought there by local leaders from their respective areas.

Amidst the chaos, coupled with the discomfort of humidity and ankle-deep slush that followed the rain, some poor women and men with letters in hand could be seen wandering around, wanting their woes to be heard by “Rahulji”.

Meanwhile, describing the Congress Kisan Mahapanchayat at Aligarh as a ‘flop show’, the BSP spokesperson today said that 80 per cent of attendees were ticket seekers and only 20 per cent were genuine farmers. 









Absconding farmer leader nabbed

New Delhi: Farmer leader Manvir Singh Tevatia, who spearheaded the peasants' stir in Bhatta-Parsaul villages, was arrested on Saturday by the Uttar Pradesh Police from the Hauz Khas area in Delhi. He had been absconding since May 7. Tevatia was caught after being chased by the police for over 2 km following a tip-off, Gautam Buddha Nagar district SSP Jyoti Narayan told reporters. “Police teams followed Tevatia as he came out of C-31 Hauz Khas in a car. One woman and a caretaker of the house were with him in the car. As he realised that he was being followed, he alighted from the car near a traffic signal and ran. But the police chased him and he was finally arrested,” the SSP said. He has been booked for murder, kidnapping and other sections of the IPC, he said. 



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