Terming the opposition as 'anti-farmer', Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday came out openly in support of foreign direct investment in the retail sector saying it would help farmers.
Addressing a public meeting in Farrukhabad, which is the highest potato growing district in the country, Gandhi said that 60 per cent of vegetables go waste and FDI would provide a chance to the farmers to directly sell their produce.
On the fourth day of his five-day mass contact programme in Farrukhabad, Rahul said, 'farmers are facing problems as 60 per cent of vegetables go waste.. we brought FDI in retail so that they could sell their produce directly'.
But the opposition stalled the move in the parliament as they are anti-farmer, he asserted.
Asserting that Congress had been working for the welfare of farmers, Gandhi recalled that loans worth Rs 60,000 crores (Rs 600 billion) were waived off for farmers and doors of banks were opened to them.
Without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said that the government of 'India Shining' had forgotten the farmers.
Referring to farmers' unrest in Bhatta Parsaul, he said that he fought for them there when they got bullets for demanding proper compensation for their land and atrocities were committed on women.
"In cities when people sell their land they get market rates but when farmers who give sweat and blood demand compensation for their land they get bullets", he said, adding that farmers demanding their rights in UP are branded as Naxals.
Attacking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, Gandhi said that she did not go to Bhatta Parsaul nor to Bundelkhand even once and reiterated his charge that she has a magical elephant (BSP symbol)
"Earlier there was dearth of funds but it is not the same anymore as funds worth thousands of crores have been sent to the state," he said, adding, "we sent money but elephant eats it up".
The Congress leader did not spare the Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav saying that earlier he used to come among the people but the case is not the same anymore.
"Once leaders become chief ministers they fly in helicopters and sit in Lucknow," he said adding that the same is the case with Mayawati.
Gandhi said, "I also fly in helicopter and find everything shining" adding that to understand the problems at the ground level it was required that leader visit villages and partake the food and water which the common people eat and drink.
On the problem of unemployment in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said that he recently asked a six-year old what he would want to do on growing but got no answer as even such a small boy knows that there are no jobs in UP.
Criticising Yadav's anti-computers and anti-English stance he said that it is not right for the poor to ask for it thought his (Yadav's) son Akhiesh speaks English well and can also run computers.
Stressing that Congress thinks of the future, he said that it was because of the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi talking about PCO in villages, computers and 21st century that the mobile phone has now in the hands of all people.
"It took 20 years to reach the people", he said.
Seeking the support of people in the coming assembly elections, he said that UP has to be brought back on track and Congress wanted to achieve it with the help of youths.