In a bid to revive Congress' fortunes in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched his poll-campaign with a 2,500 km-long 'Kisan Yatra' from Rudrapur on 6 September.
The yatra, which kickstarted from Panchlari Kritpura village, included a door-to-door campaign, where party workers collected Kisan Mangpatras (charters of farmers demands) and interacted with the farmers via khaat (cot) sabhas.
Also read: UP Polls: What is taking the Congress so long to launch Priyanka Gandhi in the state?
Why the Kisan Yatra?
The grand old party of India hopes to interact with farmers in order to understand their issues and address them on a national level, while connecting with the agricultural workers.
After kicking off the campaign, Rahul Gandhi spoke about the problems faced by farmers in the state. Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress vice-president demanded to know why there was a difference in farmers' rate and market rate.
Gandhi said that he would ensure that the problems would be heard before the prime minister. He also highlighted the fact that there were 17 sugar mills in the district and that all of them were shut on 6 September. He also alleged that the Centre and the Samajwadi Party government has forgotten the farmers.
Rahul wasn't the star attraction, the khaats were
A stampede ensued at the end of Gandhi's sabha as locals began fighting for the khaats.
The farmers who attended the sabha were seen decamping with the cots. Around 2,000 of the 4,000 cots that the party had arranged for the sabhas went missing in Deoria alone.
While a stampede with farmers carrying cots was a bizarre sight, the incident also begs the question of whether the crowd was there to listen to Gandhi at all.
Here's what you need to know about the yatra
- The yatra - dubbed the Deoria to Dilli yatra - started from Panchlari Kritpura village in Deoria district.
- The Congress vice-president is expected to cover as many as 233 assembly constituencies during the yatra.
- The party has released around 250 "mini-raths" for the Congress workers. Each mini-rath carries a kit for around 1,600 workers. The kit contains publicity material, workers' handbook along with charters of farmers' demands