Rahul justifies his remarks, challenges Maya
With his mission to oust Mayawati from Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made it aloud and clear on Wednesday that he was all set to focus his energies on this state where assembly elections were due in mid 2012.
He was addressing a well-attended convention of senior Congressmen, who looked clearly enthused by the young Gandhi scion's call for joining him in that mission.
Emphasising that there was no dearth of issues in UP, Gandhi said, "We need to do spread out in every nook and corner of the state. The issues will surface by themselves, and then all we need to do is to address them."
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Image: Rahul said that the Congress would go to every village of the state and fight for ousting the government
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
'We will take the battle to different parts of UP'
"I am prepared to go all over the state and have plenty of time at hand to do so," he said.
In a state where politics was dominated by a deep-rooted caste divide, Rahul chose to talk about the plight of the poor and the downtrodden, which he termed as the "true constituency of the Congress party."
Issuing a warning to the Maya regime, he added, "We will show to the UP government what the Congress is capable of doing for the larger good of the poor and the downtrodden."
Referring to plight of the harassed farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida, he said, "We have ignited the light in Bhatta Parsaul, and will be carried to every village of Uttar the state."
Blasting the Mayawati regime for defending its police action on the agitating farmers, Gandhi threatened to take the battle to different parts of the state."
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Image: Rahul at a burnt down house near the protest spot
'Why is the UP govt shying away from ordering a judicial probe?'
Refuting the state government's oft-repeated claims about restoration of normal life in the violence-hit village where a farmer-police clash left two farmers and two cops dead earlier this month, Rahul said, "On one hand the state government was claiming that everything was normal in the village, but the prohibitory orders clamped by the government under section 144 of the Cr PC were still in place."
He said, "Why was the government shying away from ordering a judicial probe if it really believed in its own much emphasised claim that all was fine in Bhatta Parsaul? Why was the village still deserted as locals had fled away on account of the police atrocities?"
What he found even stranger was that even while the state government was busy proclaiming that everything was "normal" in Bhatta Parsaul a local sub-divisional magistrate conveniently attributed the prevailing panic among the locals to infiltration by some naxal groups, in and around the village.
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Image: Photograph of a spot where Rahul claimed the farmers' bodies were burnt
'We'll fight for the greater good of the common man'
"The highly-backward region had been seeking the help of successive governments over the past 20 years, but in vain. But once these were brought to our notice, we not only took up the issues, but also did our bit to alleviate the sufferings of the people there."
Dispelling rumours about a possible pre-election alliance with the Samajwadi Party, Rahul sought to clearly indicate that the Congress would once again go it alone at the 2012 UP state assembly elections.
"All kinds of speculation were made at the last Lok Sabha elections about our alliance with the Samajwadi Party, that had offered us 10 of the 80 seats. But we chose to not only fight it out alone, but also make our mark", he said.
"Our goal it to fight for the greater good of the common man and unlike other parties, our vote bank comprises of the poor and the downtrodden", he observed, while urging partymen to reach out to them and address the problems faced by them.
Image: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi gestures to a villager during his visit to Parsaul village
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters