He launches Congress election campaign
Addresses rally at Muradnagar`Defeat the divisive forces' Addresses rally at Muradnagar`Defeat the divisive forces'
MEERUT: Launching his party's campaign for the coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Congress MP from Amethi Rahul Gandhi embarked on a three-day tour to the western parts of the State from the Delhi-Ghaziabad border on Sunday.
Mr. Gandhi arrived in a Land Cruiser driven by close family aide and senior party leader Satish Sharma to a rousing welcome by workers of the Congress and the National Students' Union of India. He was received by the U.P. Congress chief Salman Khursheed at the border.
His cavalcade proceeded forward on the dusty roads that were dotted with huge banners and billboards of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Khursheed, Mr. Gandhi himself and local party leaders.
Wearing a crisp white cotton kurta-pyjama, Mr. Gandhi stopped at a couple of places to greet the crowds and waved at them from his car before taking a break. Addressing his first rally at Hans Inter-College at Muradnagar, Mr. Gandhi urged the people to vote for the Congress to bring about development in the State.
``There was a time when U.P. showed the way to the rest of the country, it was ahead on the path of development. But now with 15 years of misrule, let alone India, the State can't show any path to itself.''
``Forty per cent of the State's funds come from the Centre. But what has happened to those Government packages? Have things improved at your hospitals or have the roads become any better?''
Exhorting the electorate to defeat the `divisive' forces, he said in the past 15 years different parties had ``played divisive politics and sought votes on the basis of caste and religion''.
``Sixty per cent of the State's population is the youth. If U.P. is to regain its earlier position and glory, then the youth will have to come forward and work hard.'' Hoping to revive the party's fortunes in the State, Mr. Gandhi began his campaign from western U.P. primarily because it is the citadel of the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal with whom the Congress has failed to arrive at an electoral understanding for the Assembly polls.
As the road show progressed, he briefly addressed a couple of gatherings at Modinagar. While interacting with people, he said he would work with them ``shoulder to shoulder'' to construct roads and hospitals and reopen shut factories.
``If people from U.P. can help develop cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, why can't they bring development to their own State?,'' he asked.
Asking the people to vote for change, he said: ``The parties divided you on caste and religion. They got power. What did you get? There is no electricity, no hospitals and the deteriorating law and order has worsened the situation.''