AMRAVATI: After his Punjab visit, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday started a 15-km padyatra in Amravati district in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra at the time of which he is meeting the families of the farmers who committed suicide. The move initiated by the Congress leader comes against the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill of the Narendra Modi government. (Also Read: Congress VP Rahul Gandhi takes a train to Punjab to meet despairing farmers)

Gandhi, 44, reached Nagpur on Wednesday night and left the next morning for village Gunji to commence his foot march dubbed as ‘sanvad padyatra’.

While the Gandhi scion was on his way to Gunji, people were seen queued up on the roads at Kondhali and Telegaon villages to welcome the Congress leader.

The Congress VP stopped at Telegaon for a while before heading for Gunji and also interacted with people who greeted him and asked their concerns and issues affecting them.

Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by MPCC Ashok Chavan and senior State Congress leaders will visit five villages between Gunji to Ramgaon and will meet the farmers who have suffered crop losses because of the unseasonal rain. (Also Read: Farmers committing suicide are cowards, says Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar)

Maharashtra jointly ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena is one of the states that has encountered severe agrarian crisis and Amravati division in Vidarbha region has observed many suicide cases of farmers this year.

Gajanan Sheshrao Khongal, ahead of Gandhi’s visit allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a well in Morshi tehsil of the district on Tuesday. (Also Read: Gajendra Singh: All you need to know about the man who committed suicide at AAP rally; he was not just a ‘farmer’)

Earlier on Wednesday, Rahul also raised the issue of farmers’ distress in the Lok Sabha, taking a dig at PM Modi’s international tours. “The Prime Minister who is now on an India tour, should go to Punjab, should visit the Mandis and see ground situation,” he said. (Also Read: Rahul Gandhi takes a dig on Modi’s foreign tours in Parliament: ‘PM is visiting India, he should visit Punjab too’)

Lashing out at Gandhi’s padyatra, the BJP tagged the move as ‘distress tourism’. However, Chavan defended his party’s VP and said, “This is not distress tourism and is a serious issue. The number of farmer suicides in India has increased and Congress when in power had taken several steps.”

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