Congress Election Campaign: Rahul reaches out to youth, women, poor at Rampur

Rampur, Oct. 9 (ANI): A confident Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday reached out to women and youth voters here, and assured that his party worked for the holistic empowerment of the poor, as he kickstarted the ruling party's election campaign for the 2014 general elections in Uttar Pradesh today.

"In 2014, UPA will be elected; we will be elected on the strength of the youth," Gandhi said.

"Who is talking about reservation for women? It is the Congress party. ...Congress party is increasing women representation in Panchayats and Assemblies because we know women of India are the strength of India," Gandhi added.

Gandhi also took a jibe at the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-the two important parties in Uttar Pradesh-and urged voters to support the Congress in the next election as they would provide the alternative that the people in the state want.

"The Samajwadi party came and they won. Now, after two years, they have forgotten you," Gandhi told the gathered crowd here.

"You have seen BSP and the SP; there has been zero development in Uttar Pradesh. ...If Uttar Pradesh wants progress there has to be development and brotherhood. The Congress is the only party which can deliver development and communal harmony," Gandhi assured voters.

Gandhi reminded the crowd of the horrors of the communal riots of Muzzaffarnagar which he, earlier in the day, labelled as a product of politics. "Politicians never die in riots. It is the poor who face the brunt. ...We fight for the people of the country; we fight for their rights," he said.

While lauding his party's achievements in the last nine years, Gandhi said the UPA-led government believes in the power of the voices of the Indian public, and urged the people to put pressure on the Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government to implement the Food Security scheme in the state prior to the 2014 General Elections.

"I want to assure you that here no one can silence the public's voice....The Parliament has passed the Food Security Bill, but the ruling Samajwadi Party has not implemented the scheme in Uttar Pradesh," he explained.

"There are several people in Uttar Pradesh who go hungry, the government is now giving them a guarantee of food. But, the Uttar Pradesh government does not want to implement it. I ask you to put pressure on your government so that you can reap the benefits of the food security scheme. you don't wait till after the 2014 elections; start today. ...Congress Party's thought process is the thought process of the people," he added.

Kickstarting his party's election campaign in Aligarh earlier today, Rahul Gandhi said that Uttar Pradesh was being divided communally.

Gandhi said the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar were orchestrated and did not happen independently. He said his party was the only one that could rescue the state from the grip of the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party or the opposition Bhaujan Samaj Party.

"I went to Muzaffarnagar, spoke to both Hindus and Muslims. They said there is no enmity between them and that it's all done by political forces. ...The riots in Muzaffarnagar were caused, they didn't happen," Gandhi said in Aligarh.

"Has anybody gained from the Muzaffarnagar riots, did anybody then ask who is a Hindu and who is a Muslim?" he added.

Aligarh is seen as the epicentre of minority politics in the state, while Rampur is the home district of the Samajwadi Party's Muslim face and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan.

Rahul Gandhi's rallies in Uttar Pradesh comes a day after his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi visited her parliamentary constituency of Rae Bareli and drew attention of the people to the ambitious Food Security and Land Acquisition Acts brought in by the Centre.

Sonia Gandhi also laid the foundation stone of Uttar Pradesh's first All India Institute of Medical Sciences complex in her parliamentary constituency. (ANI)

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