|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
When Rahul stormed Varanasi for votes
Abhinav Pandey in Varanasi | May 01, 2007 18:02 IST
Amid a debate over how much of his popularity will translate into votes for the embattled Congress, Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he was 'not alone' and had the strong support of youth of Uttar Pradesh.
"I am not here alone. There is a strong force behind me in the form of the youth of Uttar Pradesh," said the Congress lawmaker, who stormed the temple town with his roadshow on the last day of canvassing for the sixth phase of UP assembly elections scheduled for May 3.
Promising to take state on a development trajectory, the Amethi parliamentarian asked the people to shun parties who have divided them on the basis of caste and religion and forced the state to lose its way in the path to progress.
"It is your responsibility to take the state forward and place it at a position where it once was. I have come to UP so that I can do this job by working with you," he said, addressing an election meeting in Sadat in Ghazipur district.
He said that successive non-Congress governments in the state neglected development and asked the youth to come forward and strengthen his hands.
UP was always on the road to development, but this has changed in the past 15 years, he said, adding, "This had happened because parties divided you on the basis of caste and religion."
A large crowd with music bands in tow, greeted Rahul all along the 30-km-long route, which he covered sitting atop his jeep, in the district which has six assembly constituencies. En route he received garlands and shook hands with the people even as the surging crowds gave security personnel a hard time.
In his quest to get Muslim votes, Rahul campaigned in the narrow bylanes of this historic township that accorded him a tumultuous welcome.
A large number of members of Muslim community, including women, gave a rousing reception to the scion of Nehru-Gandhi family in Golgadda and Pilikothi areas.
The Amethi parliamentarian had given a lot of time canvassing in this politically significant region where stalwarts like Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, senior BJP leader Kalyan Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati had extensively campaigned for over the past few days.
The Congress leader's cavalcade snaked through narrow lanes and even narrower bylanes, for which the city is popular, as he sought votes for Congress candidates. People lined up on either sides of the road throughout the city to catch a glimpse of Rahul who waved at them and urged them to maintain communal harmony.
The roads were sprinkled with rose petals while others showered flowers and threw garlands at him from windows and balcony of their homes and from rooftops.
Slogans of Rahul Gandhi ka haat Vikas ke saaath, Congress party Zindabad (Rahul Gandhi's hand is with development) rent the air as he toured the Muslim-dominated areas of Madanpura, Chowk, Sonarpura and Newada.At several places, security personnel were seen physically preventing media persons from getting close to the Congress leader.