New Delhi: On a day when Rahul Gandhi visited his home turf Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, farmers in the parliamentary constituency staged a protest and raised slogans against the Congress president.

The farmers protested in Gauriganj town in Amethi district on Wednesday demanding that either their land that was given to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation should be returned or they are provided employment.

The protest came at a time when Rahul was visiting Amethi to kickstart Congress’ poll campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

One of the protesters, Sanjay Sing told ANI: “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.”

They staged the protest 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, Jain brothers had taken over 65.57 acres of land in the industrial area of Kausar to run a company but after its failure, a land auction took place in 2014.

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 scion has, however, always pitched for farmers’ welfare and even promised to waive their loan in his election speeches.

Rahul’s visit to Amethi coincided with the appointment of his sister Priyanka Gandhi as the Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East, the region in which his Amethi Lok Sabha constituency falls.

Against the backdrop of an alliance between Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party that has excluded the Congress, Rahul made it clear that his party was all set to give a tough fight in the state in the coming Lok Sabha election.

However, if the Congress hopes to regain lost ground in Uttar Pradesh by bringing Priyanka Gandhi into active politics, political adversaries claim she will have no impact on the crucial state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, according to a PTI report.

Party workers speculated that Priyanka Gandhi, who continues the Gandhi family’s legacy of active politics, may contest the polls from her mother Sonia Gandhi’s constituency Rae Bareli.

In the months ahead of the elections, she has been tasked to match the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, two star campaigners for the BJP who also have strong presence in the region.