Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today greeted everyone a "happy new year", remembering those "we lost" and who "protect" and "sacrifice for us". On a short personal trip abroad, he tweeted his message around midnight India time.
"My heart is with the farmers and labourers fighting unjust forces with dignity and honour," Mr Gandhi wrote in his tweet, reiterating his backing for the thousands who have been protesting for over a month against a clutch of new agricultural laws passed by Parliament in September.
The farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and other states, have been camped along Delhi's border, demanding the laws' repeal as they fear these will dismantle the minimum support price system and leave them at the "mercy" of big corporates. Several rounds of talks between their leaders and the government and multiple assurances from the Prime Minister himself have failed to move them.
Mr Gandhi has, in the recent past, criticised the government on multiple occasions over this issue. On December 24, for instance, after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind along with other party members to discuss the demands made by farmers, he said, "India is now an imaginary democracy."
The Congress leader left India on Sunday on a personal visit of "a few days", according to Congress spokespersons, who did not reveal his destination. However, agencies quoted party leaders to report that he was visiting his maternal grandmother in Milan, Italy.
His trip came a day ahead of the Congress party's 136th Foundation Day celebrations on Monday.