M A I N   N E W S

Will go to every corner of UP to oust Maya: Rahul
Pledges to fight for farmers’ cause at party’s Varanasi convention
Shahira Naim/Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Varanasi/New Delhi, May 18
Virtually serving an ultimatum on the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today declared that he would go to “every nook and corner” of the state to fight and show the door to Mayawati and her men.

“Bhatta-Parsaul was just the beginning. See what we do in the future. We will fight from every village and turn them (BSP) out. I will go to every nook and corner of the state this time,” said Rahul, setting the tone for the Congress campaign for 2012 Assembly elections.

Storm over Bhatta-Parsaul remarks

* The Congress on Wednesday said Rahul never made any mention of number of people killed in the Bhatta-Parsaul clash. He merely narrated to the media and the Prime Minister what villagers there told him, it said.

* The BJP, on the other hand, accused Rahul of “defaming women of Bhatta-Parsaul by voicing allegations of rape, which women there had denied”.

Attacking the state government on the alleged police brutalities in Bhatta-Parsaul, the Congress youth icon, who was addressing the inaugural session of the two-day UPCC convention here, said if everything was alright there then why was the government not ordering a judicial probe into the incident?

According to Rahul, a sub-divisional magistrate had told him that the people fighting in Bhatta-Parsaul were not farmers but armed Naxals. “Is this what this government is trying to say?” he asked.

Describing his 19-hour stay in the twin villages, Rahul said the people there were living in fear. While some men were missing, others had fled, said the Congress leader, adding that people, especially women, had complained to him about the atrocities they had been subjected to.

Hitting out at the BSP government, he said the state administration was not ready to accept problems in Bundelkhand despite that fact that condition of people there was miserable.

“What is the state government doing? Bundelkhand needs help but the state government is not doing anything. I went to the Prime Minister and did whatever I could. But the money sent by the Centre stands unutilised,” Rahul commented.

Asking his party workers to gear up for a decisive battle ahead, the AICC general secretary said they should fight not for votes but for the future of the people of the state.

“They (people) have tried out different governments in the state. What they have not seen for a long time is development. For the Congress it should not be a fight for votes but for the future of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

However, he criticised his party men for their habit of looking at others.

“Congressmen have the bad habit of seeing what the BSP is doing, what the SP is doing or what the Peace Party is doing. You all should stop this. Tell people what the Congress is doing and how we will change UP,” he pointed out.

Several Union ministers, MPs, MLAs and leaders from different districts of the state are participating in the convention where 23 resolutions on several political, social and economic issues were taken up for discussion.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address the valedictory function tomorrow which would culminate with a public rally to be addressed by her at Benia Bagh.

Meanwhile, after Rahul’s statement on burnt bodies and rape of women in Bhatta-Parsaul villages triggered a major political storm, the Congress went into a damage control mode while arch-rival BJP launched a diatribe to embarrass the crown prince of the grand old party.

Maintaining that Rahul never made any mention of number of people killed in the Bhatta-Parsaul clash, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the youth leader merely narrated to the media and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh what villagers there told him. “He (Rahul) was not present there. He went there later. Whatever has been told to him, he must have repeated that. Naturally, whenever you go after some incidents, whatever people tell you, you repeat those things,” he said.

Dwivedi defended Rahul saying that the latter only said that at one place there was an ash heap in which bones were found. Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natrajan said: “This (delegation of Congress leaders who went to Bhatta-Parsaul) was not a court of law but a group that went there out of concern. Only a thorough inquiry would determine what happened there,” she said, calling for a judicial inquiry into the May 7 incident.”

Meanwhile, sensing a readymade opportunity to embarrass the Congress, BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said Rahul should speak only after thoroughly checking facts. He also criticised the Congress leader for “defaming women of Bhatta-Parsaul by voicing allegations of rape, which women there had denied”. Hussain also advised Rahul to henceforth read out from a prepared text. “He (Rahul) should read out from written text so that his (Congress) spokesperson does not have to defend him later.”





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