"Rahul Should Fight For Farmers' Rights At The Centre" - Mayawati

"Political parties are lying and are trying to create law and order problems." With that remark, Mayawati delivered her verdict on Rahul Gandhi's much-discussed trip to visit farmers in her state yesterday - a trip that saw him jailed briefly. "Rahul should fight for farmers' rights at the Centre," she said, "nobody there seems to listen to him."

Nobody Seems To Listen To Rahul At Centre: Mayawati

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh held a press conference to discuss the farmers' protests in Greater Noida in which at least four people have died since this weekend.  Farmers in this part of UP claim the Mayawati government has sold out to real estate developers. The land that was acquired from them - usually forcibly, they allege - was meant to be used to construct an expressway from Noida to Agra.   Land surrounding that highway is being exploited for massive commercial gain by companies who are setting up malls and industrial as well as residential projects.  Farmers have been adequately compensated, said Mayawati today.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi outwitted several layers of security installed by the UP government as he travelled early on Wednesday morning to the epicenter of the farmers' protests - the village of Bhatta Parsaul. 

Rahul Gandhi, of the Indian National Congress, addresses an election campaign rally at Chaygaon in the Kamrup district of Assam.

Mr Gandhi slipped into the Greater Noida village riding pillion on a motorcycle.  After spending the day with farmers, he said the Congress party would not desert them till they won what was rightfully theirs.   He also said that he had not come across any sign that the farmers' protests were tinged with violence.   He was arrested late at night, released on bail, and then escorted out of UP.

His visit is being seen as a major political coup for the Congress.  Images of him seated on the floor with farmers, and later of his arrest were headlined by TV channels and newspapers.  Earlier in the week, BJP and Samajawadi Party leaders tried to head to Bhatta Parsaul but were stopped en route by the UP government.  

UP votes for its new government next year.