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Updated: August 26, 2010 20:35 IST

BJP leaders irked by Rahul’s campaign for farmers, tribals

PTI
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Dongria Kondh women greet Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Lanjigarh, Orissa, on Thursday. Photo: Lingaraj Panda
Dongria Kondh women greet Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Lanjigarh, Orissa, on Thursday. Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari and leaders Rajnath Singh and M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday trained their guns on Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi over his tribal and farmer agenda, questioning his credentials to take up their cause and asked what “contribution” has he made?

The leaders said people are aware who their supporter is and who is a farmer’s son. Mr. Gadkari said Rahul lacked charisma to appeal to all sections of people.

The Congress in a sharp reaction to the BJP outburst said people like Mr. Singh are “afraid” of the young leader because of his increasing reach with the masses and “genuine support” he is getting across the country.

Mr. Singh when asked about Mr. Gandhi’s campaign in U.P. over farmers’ issue said “What other political parties are doing on farmers’ related issue I will not comment on it. But people know who is the son of a farmer and who is the supporter of poor people.”

Mr. Naidu also hit out at Mr. Gandhi asking “What is his experience? What is his contribution?”

“Let us talk about what the Prime Minister or the Congress president has done instead. They talk of aam admi, but all their actions are to benefit the khas admi,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

In Bhopal, Mr. Gadkari said Rahul did not have the charisma to appeal to people from all sections of the society.

“I do not subscribe to the view that Rahul has a charisma which appeals to all kinds of people in the society,” the BJP president told a press conference.

“If only Rahul had some charisma, the Congress would not have lost Assembly elections in those States where he had campaigned extensively,” he said.

Mr. Gadkari said he was not worried at Congress projecting Mr. Gandhi as a future prime minister.

“It is the internal matter of the Congress to decide whom it wants to project as the prime minister,” he said.

Hitting back at Mr. Singh, Union Minister and senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said people like him are “afraid” of the young leader.

“People are reposing faith in him (Rahul) but people like Rajnath Singh are not able to understand this and are afraid of him,” she said.

“The entire opposition is scared of Rahul because of his increasing reach with the masses and genuine support he is getting across the country,” she said in New Delhi.

Ms. Soni said, “Rahul has got wide support in the party and government.”

Targeting Mr. Singh and the BJP she said, “If you are isolated from the grassroots and alienated from people and only doing politics through the debate in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha then people like Rajnath Singh would be scared of him.”

On Mr. Gandhi’s role, Ms. Soni said, “He (Rahul) is not doing things deliberately for camera opportunities or cheap publicity. He charted a road map as I have seen as an onlooker.

He has identified the role of an MP in his or her constituency. He has also identified those sections of our population which should have got the benefit of development but have not yet got.

“When he visited Dalits and poor, people criticised but he did not stop because he genuinely believed in that.”

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