"BJP-led NDA seeks to snatch away precious land from poor farmers and dislodge them without seeking their views. The Centre wants to hand over peasants' land to corporates," he said while launching a 'Save Farmer March' at Debahal in this western Odisha district.

The Congress vice president started his padyatra after meeting family members of Sanand Kathar, who had recently committed suicide due to abject poverty. Gandhi emphasized that farmer suicides were rising as NDA has been neglecting them since it came to power over a year ago.

Accusing the Centre of scrapping various steps taken by Congress-led UPA for the welfare and progress of farmers, the leader said Congress always worked to safeguard the interest of peasants and the land acquisition measure brought by it provided for adequate compensation.

While the UPA legislated for land acquisition only after asking farmers, BJP was bent upon snatching land from peasants without seeking their views and had brought Ordinance twice for the purpose, he said.

Asserting that Congress always favoured adequate compensation at market rate to farmers parting with their land, Rahul Gandhi said labourers engaged in the land being acquired must also be compensated properly, but BJP was against it.

The government was even planning to acquire land up to two km on both sides of national highways, he alleged. Describing farmers as the backbone of the country, the Congress leader said the government must work for protecting their interests as they feed people by working round the clock.

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