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Rahul's roadshow: Tainted candidates 'avoided'
Santosh K Joy in Mujaina | April 20, 2007 18:30 IST
With Congress parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi making 'lawlessness' in Uttar Pradesh a poll issue, three of the party candidates with a criminal history were conspicuous by their absence at his rally in this town in Gonda district.
Former BJP legislator Ajay Pratap Singh contesting on Congress ticket from Karnailganj, Sushil Paswan (Mankapur) and Samin Achan (Katra Bazaar) did not attend Rahul's rally in Mujaina.
When asked about the absence of the party's official candidates from the rally, party sources said 'they were avoided.'
"It is time we end goondaraj and pass on the baton to the youth," Rahul said, campaigning in support of the local candidate Usman Khan.
The only other candidate present at the rally was Srikant Pande, who is in the fray from Gonda city.
"I do not know about the Rahul rally. I am busy campaigning in my area," said Singh, who was released on bail only last week. He is facing over half a dozen charges, including of murder and Goonda Act.
Accusing the successive governments in the state in the past 15 years of neglecting development, he asked the youth to come forward and strengthen his hands to take the state on a development trajectory.
His roadshows are focussed to attract the youth to the party as 'they alone can change the face of Uttar Pradesh.'
Rahul is currently on the fifth leg of his roadshow as a part of the campaign for the Uttar Pradesh elections. Besides drawing crowds, his remarks during the campaigning have triggered controversies -- first, for stating that the Babri masjid will not have been demolished had a member of the Gandhi family was at the helm of affairs in the country and later for crediting his family for the division of Pakistan.
Addressing a series of meetings, Rahul had attacked successive non-Congress governments for 'mis-governance,' 'corruption' and 'lawlessness' in the state.
"It is due to the governments and its functioning in the last 15 years that no industrialist feels safe to invest here resulting in unemployment and backwardness," he said.