In Rajasthan for Maiden Victory Lap, Rahul Gandhi May Sharpen Lok Sabha Pitch to Blunt Modi’s Quota Surprise

Jaipur: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will address a farmers’ rally here on Wednesday, in his maiden visit to Rajasthan after poll victory. The party chief’s visit comes a day after Centre’s proposal for 10% quota for upper caste poor was passed in Lok Sabha. Gandhi is likely to rake up the issue ahead of 2019 general elections.

The grand old party had assured Gurjars and communities like Raika, Banjara and Gadia Luhar of five per cent quota in its manifesto ahead of the state polls. However, with the 10% quota for upper caste being passed in Parliament, issue of reservation could take centre stage in Gandhi’s rally.

Recently, the Gurjar outfits had reminded the party about its pre-election promise and asked it to provide quota before Lok Sabha polls.

On the issue of upper caste quota, the Congress had expressed support but questioned its timing, calling it a “jumla” (political gimmick) ahead of elections. Gandhi is expected to speak further on these lines during his public meeting.

It will be also be the Gandhi scion’s first rally after the Congress government initiated steps to fulfil its promise of waiving off farmer loans.

The Congress-led government in Rajasthan had on December 19, 2018 announced a waiver for short term farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh and constituted a committee to decide the eligibility criteria. The announcement was in line with the Congress chief’s pre-poll announcement to waive farm loans.

“Promise of waiving off loans of farmers was a resolution of the Congress and the government has fulfilled its promise after coming to power,” the party’s in-charge for political affairs in Rajasthan, Avinash Pande said.

“Congress president will be addressing a public meeting where farmers will express their gratitude,” he added.