Sangrur (Punjab), Oct 10 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who recently embarrassed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by terming the ordinance on convicted lawmakers "nonsense", Thursday heaped praise on him, calling him his "political guru" and lauding his contribution.
Addressing a public rally near this Punjab town, Gandhi said: "You (Punjab) have given Manmohan Singh to us. What Manmohan Singh has done for the country, no one else has done."
"I have two gurus in politics. The Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) and Manmohan Singh. Punjab has given one of these gurus," he said.
Gandhi, who made a dramatic appearance at a party press meet in New Delhi and trashed the ordinance, brought by the Manmohan Singh government, as "nonsense" and one which needed to be "torn and thrown", had a faint smile on his face as he broached the subject.
"I was joking with the prime minister after the ordinance (controversy) and I told him what was in my heart. I told him what we have learnt from you."
Following the Congress vice president's comments, an embarrassed Manmohan Singh government was forced to re-think and withdraw the ordinance, which aimed to overturn a recent Supreme Court judgment that convicted lawmakers would be disqualified.
Pointing out that clear intent was needed in politics, Rahul said: "Manmohan Singh has a clear intent."
"No one else has done so much development work as done by the prime minister."
Pointing out that Punjab needs more development, Gandhi said: "Punjab gives food to whole of India. The country cannot stand without Punjab." He termed drugs and unemployment as major problems in the state.
The Congress leader said the UPA government had empowered the common people of the country through its programmes like right to information (RTI), food security bill, right to education (RTE) and the rural employment guarantee scheme.
"Our politics is that of empowerment. We want to empower the common people. The opposition does not want to empower you," he said.
"The RTI has empowered you. You can ask me, Amarinder Singh, Pratap Singh Bajwa and Ghulam Nabi Azad under it," he said.
Stating that Manmohan Singh's intent was honest, Gandhi said the UPA government under him since 2004 has changed the development structure.
Referring to the recent riots in western Uttar Pradesh, he alleged that these took place at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the state's ruling Samajwadi Party. He questioned why no political leader was killed while so many common people died in the riots.
Warring leaders of the Congress' state unit came face to face with each other on the same platform at the rally in this Punjab town, 130 km from Chandigarh.
Former chief ministers Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, state Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa, Leader of Opposition in assembly Sunil Kumar Jakhar, and former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar and others were present at the rally.
Also present were Manish Tiwari, Santosh Chaudhury, Parneet Kaur, Ambika Soni and Ashwani Kumar.
--Indo-Asian News Service