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Give us 5 years of UP rule: Rahul to voters

Last updated on: January 31, 2012 22:01 IST

Give us 5 years of UP rule: Rahul to voters

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Sharat Pradhan in Sitapur /Barabanki

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh remained Congress star campaigner Rahul Gandhi's main target, as he went on a full-throated campaign in different constituencies falling under the first phase of the five-phased Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections. Sharat Pradhan reports.

Sitapur was part of his Tuesday destinations wherein he sought to cover various constituencies in this district as well as the neighbouring Barabanki district. He addressed four rallies at Reosa, Sitapur, Dariyabad and Mehandipur and pulled a fairly good crowd, who responded to his gestures and appeals.

Barring minor variations, the content of his speeches seemed quite similar, which also apparently enabled him to drift away from his usual habit of reading out from a written text. He also looked much more confident and passionate about his promises, which evoked reassuring applause from the audience.

Rahul's entire focus was on highlighting how he had taken pains to reach out to the poorest of poor and the most underprivileged in the remotest areas of the state, where the two main rivals -- Mayawati or Mulayam -- have never cared to tread.

"Have Mayawati or Mulayam ever visited the house of a poor dalit or even held his hand? Have they ever shared a meal with a poor downtrodden? Have they ever had water drawn from the village well?" he asked.

He added, "And since they haven't done so, how can they understand the sufferings of the poor, their needs or their aspirations?"

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Image: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi


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'Maya plundered the state treasury'

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Claiming to be one up above his political adversaries, the Gandhi scion told the cheering crowds , "I went to England for my education and later also studied in America, but let me confess that what I have learnt from you all in the past seven years is unparalleled."

He lamented, "When I go over to the homes of dalits or the poor in remote villages, Mayawati calls it drama, but that has not deterred me from reaching out to those who have remained neglected for at least two decades since the Congress has been out of power in this state."

Rahul said, "After looking at the plight of the poor and unemployed in the rural areas, when we came up with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act to ensure 100-days employment to agriculture labour, the opposition laughed at us.

"When we announced waiver of Rs 60,000 crore worth of agriculture loans, the opposition termed it as a very tall order and even questioned us as to where would be get the funds to implement such an ambitious plan; but we managed to do it because we believe in honouring every commitment," he added.

Pointedly flaying both Mayawati and Mulayam, he said, "While Mayawati plundered the state treasury, Mulayam did nothing other than indulging in scam after scams."

He added, "But when we decided to give Muslims the biggest gift -- reservations -- both these leaders were feeling stumped. While Mayawati shot off a letter, Mulayam has sought to term it as grossly insufficient; but I wish to ask him, why he did not give such a reservation while he was chief minister."

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Image: Workers erect a scaffolding to cover statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in Lucknow
Photographs: Reuters

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'SP's cycle has always been punctured'

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Accusing Mulayam of only doing lip service, Rahul said, "Congress always did what it promised -- take the Right to Information, Right to Education and now the Right to Food, which we are shortly going to implement to ensure that no one remains hungry in this country."

Referring to the ruling BSP by its symbol -- elephant --  and SP by its symbol- bicycle, he took a dig at his political rivals and quipped, "In Lucknow ,there is an elephant who feeds on money, while the bicycle has always remained punctured ."

He also made it a point to run down the Bharatiya Janata Party by reminding how the National Democratic Alliance government under Atal Behari Vajpayee sought to fool the country by giving the 'India Shining' slogan.

"Do you know where the slogan was picked up from? Well, it was taken from a TV advertisement and remained a completely hollow slogan," he alleged. He added, "The only thing that seemed to shine were the houses of the top NDA leaders, while the shining India was not visible anywhere."

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Image: Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav


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'The poor in UP look elsewhere for a livelihood'

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He said, "What makes me angry was the plight of the people of the state who have to go to far off places like Mumbai, Delhi or Haryana and elsewhere to look for their livelihood."

Citing an example he remarked, "It was really an irony that while the labour from UP toiled to build the metro rail in Delhi, he does not have the money to travel on the same metro."

In his concluding remarks at the series of rallies, Rahul made a fervent appeal to the crowds to vote for the Congress. "You gave 22 years to the elephant (BSP) and the bicycle (SP); give us five years and see the change that we will bring to your lives by transforming this state", he added.

Significantly, Rahul had beside Union Surface Transport minister Jitin Prasad, who represents the Dharaura parliamentary constituency on the border of Sitapur and Steel minister Beni Prasd Verma, who was the Lok Sabha member of Parliament from Kaiserganj in the neighbourhood of Barabanki.

Both sought to assure the crowds that they would pump in all their resources to be the agents of change if the people were to vote for the Congress in what have been a SP and BSP bastions.


Image: Rahul addressing a gathering in UP


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