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Updated: November 12, 2009 13:38 IST

Akhilesh ready to accept any challenge from Rahul Gandhi

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SP leader Akhilesh Yadav speaks at an election rally. He said that he is ready to accept any challenge from Rahul Gandhi. File Photo: Subir Roy
The Hindu
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav speaks at an election rally. He said that he is ready to accept any challenge from Rahul Gandhi. File Photo: Subir Roy

Smarting under the defeat in the Lok Sabha and Assembly by-elections, Samajwadi Party MP Akhilesh Singh Yadav on Thursday said he was ready to accept any challenge thrown at him by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

“I have not challenged anybody but if I am challenged, I will accept it,” he said when asked if he was daring Rahul Gandhi politically, who is being credited for Raj Babbar’s victory in the Lok Sabha by-elections here.

Addressing a press conference along with his wife Dimple who lost out to Babbar, Mr. Yadav took a dig at the Congress leader, saying he congratulated Mr. Gandhi for Congress’ victory in Firozabad but he should also accept the blame for his party’s defeat in the Assembly by-polls in the state.

Congress has won only one out of 11 Assembly seats which went for by-polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Holding the Congress responsible for backwardness of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Yadav said, “Spending a night at a dalit’s house will not do away with his poverty. These people should also tell them who is responsible for their condition.”

He said while Congress had been campaigning for young leadership, they fielded “an old person” in Firozabad...SP’s candidate (his wife Dimple Yadav) was the youngest in the fray.

MR. Yadav, son of party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, alleged that BJP and Congress had a tacit understanding which led to SP’s defeat in the by-elections. “BJP’s votes were diverted to Congress“.

The SP leader said that the party will review the reasons behind its defeat.

“We will reach to the people, who did not vote for the SP candidate, and will find reasons for the anger towards the party,” Yadav said.

On the issue of the attack on SP MLA Abu Asim Azmi in Maharashtra Assembly, he accused Congress of keeping mum. .

“Congress has always maintained silence on such issues. It did the same when North Indians were being attacked in Mumbai.”

He also held the Congress and BSP Government responsible for the backwardness, price rise and unemployment in Uttar Pradesh

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