Sonia to address farmers’ rally in Maharashtra

March 15th, 2008 - 11:43 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) With the Congress competing with its allies to claim credit for the Rs.600 billion farm loan waiver, party president Sonia Gandhi will address a series of farmer rallies in Maharashtra Monday. She is expected to address public rallies in Osmanabad in Marathwada region and Sangli in western Maharashtra.

Gandhi’s first farmers’ rally outside the national capital assumes political significance when Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), has already made attempts to project the ambitious scheme as his idea.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced the Rs.60,000 crore (Rs.60 billion) loan waiver for debt-ridden small and marginal farmers as part of the budget presented Feb 29.

The Congress has chalked out a strategy that includes public rallies and a publicity blitz to take the credit for the populist move ahead of the general elections slated for next year.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gandhi addressed a massive public rally here last Sunday.

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