May 28 2020
Rahul Gandhi to address Punjab rally today
09 October 2013

LUCKNOW/RAMPUR/ALIGARH: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has predicted, "a government of the youth" will come to power in 2014, which would work for the poor, triggering speculation on whether he was hinting at his interest in leading a government.

"In 2014, a government of the youth will be formed, which will change the country. It will bring change by empowering the last man in the queue," Gandhi told a public meeting in Rampur. Accusing opposition parties, including SP of trying to scuttle UPA's initiatives for poor, like laws on food security and land acquisition, he said it required a determined push by the Manmohan Singh government pushed to pass the legislation.

"If you have to win election in India, help the poor, work for them. They (opposition) don't go to the poor, but make tall claims in the media, hold press conferences," he alleged. "Lakhs of people used to sleep hungry in the country which has now been changed forever with the Food Security law. There can be nothing bigger than this initiative."

While the Right to Food guaranteed highly subsidised grain to people across the country, opposition parties tried hard to block the bill in Parliament, he alleged. "For three years, we fought for it. Perhaps you don't know how Soniaji, Manmohanji and I fought," he told the gathering here in UP.

Earlier, the slogan used to be 'aadhi roti khayenge, Congress ko jitayenge' (we will have half bread but ensure victory for Congress). Now the slogan has changed. It is now 'pet bhar ke khayenge, Congress ko jitayenge' (Our stomachs will be full and we will ensure victory for Congress)."

Turning is ire on the SP government in UP he said, "UP has a government of computers. But laptops are not working. There is no electricity," he said hitting out at Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's pet scheme of free laptops to those who have passed Class XII. Putting the onus of the recent Muzaffarnagar riots on SP and BJP, Gandhi said "the riots did not happen on their own. They were caused by politicians. There are politicians who know that unless people fight among themselves they cannot win".

He claimed that only the Congress stood for all castes and religions in the country. "I met riot victims in Muzaffarnagar. They said that they do not have any enmity between them. They clearly said that politicians were behind the riots," he said.

Rahul's attack on Akhilesh Yadav's government is seen as an aggressive bid to win over Muslims who form the core support base of SP. The choice of the two rallies at Aligarh and Rampur is significant in this regard as both have dominant Muslim population and fall in western UP where the riots happened in early September.

Gandhi lauded the role of women, saying states with women at the helm have progressed well. He referred to Tamil Nadu as an example. The comment seemed curious as TN Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is seen as a potential ally of the NDA.



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