A group of agitated farmers on Wednesday staged a massive protest, raising slogans against Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his parliamentary constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. The Gandhi scion was on a two-day visit to Amethi to hold campaigns for the Upcoming General Elections 2019. The protesting farmers' group include those who in the 1980s gave their land for the proposed Samrat Cycle Factory in Amethi, the home turf of the Gandhi-Nehru clan.
The farmers staged a demonstration near Samrat Cycle factory, which was inaugurated by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi when he was the Lok Sabha lawmaker from Amethi. In the 1980s, the Jain brothers took over 65.57 acres of land in the industrial area of Kausar and created some jobs for farmers as well.
However, the factory was closed in 1988-89, following which the owners of Samrat Cycle had in 2014 auctioned the land and its assets which were procured by Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Trust.
Speaking to news agency ANI, one of the protestors said, "We are very upset with Rahul Gandhi. He should go back to Italy. He does not deserve to be here. Rahul has grabbed our land".
According to the records, UP State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) had leased 65.57 acres of land to the company in 1986 but when the company was closed down, the Debts Recovery Tribunal got it auctioned in 2014 at Rs 20.10 crore to recover the loan. The land purchased in the auction was paid by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust for stamp duty of Rs. 1,50,000.
However, later the land auction process was termed invalid by the UPSIDC after which a Gauriganj SDM Court ordered the return of the land of the Samrat Cycle Factory to UPSIDC. Since then the land is on papers with UPSIDC but is still occupied by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.
Earlier, Union Minister Smriti Irani had also accused Rahul Gandhi of grabbing the land of farmers through the foundation. The Congress chief has, however, always pitched for farmers' welfare and even promised to waive their loan in his election speeches.
(With inputs from agencies)