Rudrapur: Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday kicked off his party's election push in Uttar Pradesh with a 2,500-km kisan mahayatra during which he accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "ignoring" their problems and promised a loan waiver, higher farm support price and reduction in power tariff.
Starting the roadshow from this temple town in eastern Uttar Pradesh, where Assembly elections are due early next year and Congress is out of power for more than two decades, he said the campaign will seek to put pressure on Modi and his government to address farmers' problems.
"These governments (Centre and the state) have forgotten the farmers and labourers. They have not done anything about your problems and sorrow but we will. They have not done anything (for you), neither have they given any assurance.
"We neither have a government in Uttar Pradesh nor in New Delhi. But we share the sorrow of farmers and labourers as ours and we are going to fight it out with you," he told a congregation of farmers.
"I told Modiji to protect the farmers because they provide food to the country and to protect them there are three ways that you need to adopt. The first is to waive their loans. If you remember when our government was there, we waived Rs 70,000 crore of their loans.
"What is happening now is that last year, the Modi government waived loans of Rs 50,000 crore of big industrialists.
"If you want you can waive loans of big people, but why not waive the loans of farmers? Like we waived Rs 70,000 crore, you should also do for farmers. Modiji should waive loans of farmers of Uttar Pradesh and of the country," he said.