M A I N   N E W S

Rahul UP’s future: Manmohan

Poranpur (Pilibhit), April 15
In a statement that could have some serious political undertones, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today described Congress MP Rahul Gandhi as ‘the future of Uttar Pradesh’. “Rahul Gandhi is sweating it out in UP and he has a definite vision for this state,’’ Dr Singh said while addressing an election meeting here this afternoon.

Expressing utmost faith in the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the suave PM expressed the hope that the young MP from Amethi would do to UP what his illustrious father, the late Rajiv Gandhi, did to the country 20 years back as Prime Minister of India.

The remark of the Prime Minister is sure to lighten up sagging sentiments of the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh which is finding it hard to fight for its survival in the biggest state of the country.

Rahul Gandhi, a much-in-demand star campaigner for the Congress party during the ongoing UP assembly polls, has been holding road shows in various constituencies of the state. In fact, most of his road shows have attracted large crowds though it remains to be seen whether the public support turns into votes.

The Prime Minister made this remark in the presence of Salman Khurshid, president of the UP Congress Committee (UPCC) which, in the past, has been making formal and informal demands with the party high command to give Rahul some ‘big’ role in UP politics.

The party leadership has never been committal over Rahul’s role in UP Congress but today’s remark coming from none other than the Prime Minister himself has certain meaning attached to it.

The Prime Minister also sought to woo Muslim votes pledging to implement the Sachchar Committee recommendations for welfare of minorities and bear all expenses for teaching Urdu.

The Prime Minister said the Centre would implement the recommendations made by the Sachchar panel for socio-economic uplift of Muslims.

Noting that minorities accounted for a sizeable portion of the population in Uttar Pradesh, he said the backward condition of Muslims had come to light in the Sachchar Committee’s report.

At a separate rally at Afzalgarh, the Prime Minister said the UPA government at the Centre had taken several steps to provide equal opportunities to Muslims in the field of education and employment.

“We want Muslim children to get Urdu education as far as possible. Our government is ready to bear all expenditure in this regard,” Manmohan Singh told the rally.

The 15-point programme includes opening of more schools, anganwadi centres and hospitals in backward areas and the UPA government will also ensure that equal opportunities are provided to minorities, the PM said. The government will also provide bank loans to Muslims, he said. — UNI, PTI



Priyanka to enter politics after a decade

Amethi, April 15
Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka could take the plunge into active politics after a decade.

“Wait for 10 more years before I enter active politics,” Priyanka, here to campaign for the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, quipped when asked by reporters about her plans to enter politics.

Rejecting Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s charge that no development had taken place in Amethi — the Lok Sabha constituency of her brother Rahul — Priyanka insisted that a lot of activities were taking place in the area.

She said that though it was her first experience of assembly elections in the state, she was getting a good response from people.

Priyanka is here on a three-day visit to Amethi and Rae Bareli to oversee campaigning in the two constituencies. — PTI



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