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Land stir: Rahul takes on Maya
New Delhi/Varanasi, May 18 (Agencies/ IANS):
Published on 18 May. 2011 10:40 PM IST
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Not wanting to let go the upper hand he gained on the issue of atrocities on Bhatta Parsaul farmers, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati head-on and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
Speaking at the state convention of Congress in Varanasi, the youth leader said, “People of Uttar Pradesh are our votebank and Congress will fight for them.”
Recalling his dramatic visit to the violence hit village, Gandhi said, “Bhatta Parsaul village was deserted when I visited it. The SDM of the area told me that Maoists have come to that place.”
“The villagers were in distress and questioned me on the atrocities they were facing”, he further added.
Cornering Mayawati over the issue, Rahul said, “If everything was ok in the village then why did the state government impose Article 144 in the area.”
He also questioned Mayawati’s intentions saying, “If they have not done any atrocities then why is the state government shying away from a judicial enquiry?”
In a clear indication towards the upcoming assembly elections in the state in 2012, Rahul said, “BSP government in the state is not performing. They have failed to utilize the funds given by the Center for Uttar Pradesh.”
Declaring that Congress is the only alternative for the people of Uttar Pradesh, the young leader said, “There is no development in the state for past 20 years. Congress is the only party that can develop the distressed state.” He also assured the people of the state that, “I will reach all corners of Uttar Pradesh and fight for the people. I will hold the hand of the common man and fight for justice for all.”
The Congress central leadership, including party president Sonia Gandhi, will set the party’s agenda for the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections during this convention.
Sonia Gandhi will address the valedictory session Thursday, and will also hold a public rally at the Beniyabagh ground.
Congress, RLD demand probe into Rahul Gandhi’s allegations
The Congress Wednesday pressed the Uttar Pradesh government for a probe into party general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s claim that mounds of ash containing human remains were found in Bhatta-Parsaul village of Greater Noida. The demand was supported by the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who is in Varanasi, said the party stands by Rahul Gandhi’s statement.
“We stand by every word Rahul Gandhi has said,” Digvijay Singh told news channel CNN-IBN.
He also said Gandhi only repeated what was told to him.
“What he has said is on the basis of his stay in that village, consultations with the farmers, people from that area, this is what I am saying. If the chief minister (Mayawati) is so sure of what she has said, then she should order an investigation,” Digvijay Singh said.
The state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party had refuted Gandhi’s claim, calling it “baseless” Tuesday.
But Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, which has of late been coming closer to the Congress, also supported Gandhi and asked the state to probe the issue.
“He holds an important position in the Congress. He is a parliament member from Uttar Pradesh, he says he went there and he has some photos, the government should conduct an inquiry,” Ajit Singh told reporters.
Gandhi Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with some farmers and handed over pictures of ashes with bones, injured people and ransacked houses in Bhatta-Parsaul. He also said the state government had committed rapes and other atrocities on local people.
Bhatta-Parsaul was hit by violence following a clash between the Uttar Pradesh government and farmers over land acquisition.
Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi said: “The matter should be investigated. If it is not correct, it is all right, but if it is correct it is a very serious matter. Even if the women have been beaten mercilessly, it is a serious matter. Whatever may be the fact, they must come out with it,” he said.
“He was not present there, he went later on...whatever must have been told to him, he must have repeated that,” Dwivedi told reporters. “If you go after some incident, whatever people tell you, repeat that.”

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