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Home > News > Report

Slur against Rahul Gandhi kicks up row

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 27, 2007 13:28 IST
Last Updated: April 27, 2007 13:45 IST

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The Battle for Uttar Pradesh

While the ruling Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party had been consistently training their guns at Congress Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan allegedly used highly unparliamentary language against the star campaigner of the Congress party.

The SP leader referred to Rahul as a 'pig', while addressing an election rally in Ghazipur on Thursday.

While the news remained confined to some local dailies in the small town, it hit the headlines on a national TV network on Friday, kicking up a big row in UP's poll-charged political circles.

While venting his ire against references to the now razed 17th century Babri Mosque as just a  "structure", Khan said at the rally, "When Rahul Gandhi too refers to the Babri Mosque as a mere structure, he appears to be worse than a pig to me."

Observers see this as a reflection of the Samajwadi Party leadership's desperation to poison the minds of the Muslim electorate, that seemed to be quite impressed by the Gandhi scion's road-shows across the state.

"It also shows that the ruling party was feeling just as much threatened as was the BJP by Rahul Gandhi's charismatic sway over the masses," remarked Congress leader Abid Hussain.

"It appears to be very petty and dirty tactics to poison the minds of Muslims for whom pig was the most despicable object," he added.

"While we condemn the minister's act, we are going to take this up with the election commission," said UP Congress general secretary Satyadeo Tripathi .

"This was a clear cut indication of the desperation of a party that could see the writing on the wall -- that it was on way out," he added.

Former UP minister Haji Yaqub Quraishi, who lately joined another Samajwadi rebel Raj Babbar's Jan Morcha, flayed Azam Khan for the remarks.

"The use of such unparliamentary language only shows the third-rate roadside mentality of the man, whom Mulayam chose as his parliamentary affairs minister," Quraishi remarked, while predicting doom for the ruling party.