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Rahul declares war on Mayawati
AMETHI, JUL 17 (IANS):
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Published on 17 Jul. 2009 11:25 PM IST
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday declared war on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh asserting that his party would now aggressively work for the poor irrespective of any police action, though he conceded state party chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s remarks against Chief Minister Mayawati were “unfortunate and wrong”. “We will now work aggressively for the poor; we will work for their rights across Uttar Pradesh. The poor in every district of the state will come to know that it’s the Congress that stands for them,” Gandhi told reporters in his constituency of Amethi. “We are not concerned about police action against us. We will work for the poor and you will see it, I want to make this clear.” Asked if he held the Mayawati government responsible for the attack on Joshi’s home soon after her arrest early Thursday, the Congress general secretary said: “Whether the government instigated it or not, whether the police were involved... we are not bothered. “Do-teen aur police action ho jaaye to koi nahi, hum garib ke liye kaam karenge (let there be a couple of more police cases, we are not worried, we will work for the poor),” Gandhi asserted. He said his agenda was to improve the conditions of the poor in Uttar Pradesh irrespective of whether “it is a Dalit, a Brahmin or a Muslim”. Though Gandhi disapproved of Joshi’s remarks against Mayawati, he strongly defended her. “I can understand the anger in dealing with the Uttar Pradesh government that is not operational in the state. The words are wrong, but not the sentiment,” Gandhi said. “The words used by Joshi were unfortunate? Congress president and the party have made it clear that we don’t appreciate the words,” he added. Joshi was arrested Wednesday night under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. She made the allegedly derogatory and sexist utterances while mocking at the state government for spending lakhs of rupees to fly its director-general of police in a helicopter to disburse Rs.25,000 compensation to rape victims. Around the same time her home in Lucknow was set on fire, though Mayawati has denied BSP activists were involved. Joshi was sent to Moradabad jail Thursday morning on 14 days’ judicial custody. Gandhi said the state government was not working for the poor and “these (Joshi’s) are right sentiments. Wherever we go, the government does not work in Uttar Pradesh.” Asked whether the Congress would take disciplinary action against Joshi, Gandhi replied: “I am a general secretary of Congress? As far as disciplinary action against Joshi is concerned, it is the business of the Congress president and senior party leaders.” Continuing his attack against the state government, he condemned the police action against the public in Sultanpur district, who were baton-charged during their protests against erratic power supply this week. Gandhi said: “Police just thrashed the public protesting against the poor power supply... a normal rational government does not function this way. What was their fault? They are ordinary people, not politicians.” The 38-year-old Congress leader asserted that his party would ensure that money disbursed by the central government to Uttar Pradesh for programmes meant for the poor reached the target beneficiaries. “It is our job to ensure that our programmes from Delhi are delivered to the poor people... The Congress is going to ensure that. We don’t appreciate the fact that we send huge sums of money and it is wasted.” Criticising Mayawati for installing her statues and setting up memorials to herself in the state, Gandhi said the state government was misusing funds meant for development of the state. “It’s the priority of the Uttar Pradesh government to install statues. I don’t agree with this,” said Gandhi. Sonia compelled to regret: Maya With Congress chief Sonia Gandhi disapproving of UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s remarks against her, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati on Friday said her party will now ensure peaceful conduct in both houses of Parliament. “I have come to know that Congress president Sonia Gandhi has expressed deep pain and anguish over Joshi’s reprehensive and indecent remarks against me. Therefore, in the interest of the country and the people, the party has decided to assist in peaceful and smooth conduct of both houses of Parliament,” she told reporters in Lucknow. She, however, said Gandhi’s disapproval was more of a “compulsion in the wake of the declining political graph of the Congress among the people specially Dalits. “After my statement that Joshi made derogatory remarks against me in Moradabad on the directives of the Congress high command, Sonia Gandhi was compelled to express anguish and pain because of the declining goodwill of the party,” she claimed.

 
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