Congress to hold farmers’ rally here Sunday

March 8th, 2008 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Keen to capitalise on budget sops for farmers with elections seemingly round the corner, the Congress party is expecting to put up a grand show at the farmers’ rally at the Ramlila ground here Sunday. The rally has been aptly named Dhanyawad Abhinandan (thanksgiving felicitation) for the loan waiver announced by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Feb 29. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be among those who address the farmers.

Party sources said state unit leaders have been told to get enough people to match Feb 24 massive rally organised by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati at the Ramlila ground. The Congress and BSP are engaged in a tussle to win over the Dalit and weaker sections.

The party has chosen the same ground and hopes to put up an impressive show.

“The rally will dispel all the canards being spread by opposition parties about the budget and especially the farm loan waiver,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said.

Chidambaram had announced in his budget speech that loans taken by all small and marginal farmers from banks till December 2007 would be waived.

The opposition has been cornering the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to clarify how this huge loan waiver would be paid.

In the run-up to the rally, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee held a meeting on Tuesday to chalk out the plans. “The Pradesh Congress Committees of all north Indian states and especially those of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have been sounded,” Congress secretary Tom Vadakkan said.

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