Rahul targets SP, BJP over riots, says government of youth in 2014

Aligarh/Rampur, Oct 9 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday made a veiled attack on Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) government and the BJP over the Muzaffarnagar riots and said a government of "youth", "poor" and "common man" would be formed in 2014.

Addressing rallies in Aligarh and Rampur as part of efforts to create a winning momentum for the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi sought to firmly identify his party with the poor and sought support of youth, women and the common man.

In a possible indication that he will lead the government and the party's young leaders could get more prominence, Gandhi, 43, said, "In 2014, it will be government of youth. It will change the country."

Gandhi also sought to take credit for passage of food security and land acquisition bills passed in parliament.

He said land acquisition bill would benefit farmers and food security bill would benefit the common man.

However, his accusation that the opposition created roadblocks to the passage of land acquisition bill drew immediate rebuttal from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj, who asked him to have the courage to speak the truth.

Swaraj tweeted that Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had put on record his special thanks for her efforts in paving the way for the bill's passage.

Gandhi attacked the Akhilesh Yadav government of Uttar Pradesh for not implementing the flagship food security act in the state because it apprehends the Congress may benefit from the scheme in the 2014 general elections.

He urged the people to "fight for food security", saying it is their right now.

Rahul Gandhi's two rallies in Uttar Pradesh took place in Aligarh and Rampur -- cities with a sizeable presence of the Muslim community. .

Speaking first in Aligarh, Gandhi blamed politicians for the August-September violence in Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh, that killed over 50 people and displaced over 40,000.

"Both Hindus and Muslims of Muzaffarnagar told me there is no enmity between people but politicians divide them," Gandhi said.

"These politicians know that if there are no riots, they can't win the election," he said.

The Congress in the past blamed both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party of being "hand-in-glove" in fanning communal tension in Muzaffarnagar.

On the development issue, he said: "Both SP and BSP can't develop Uttar Pradesh. The Congress will do it. UP will not progress till Congress is voted to power."

In his Rampur rally, Gandhi said the Congress will fight with more vigour for the poor. "We will fight the battle of poor with more vigour. You fight the battle of the poor, the farmer and the youth with us," he said, urging women to side with the Congress.

Referring to the Congress forming coalition governments after the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi said the "government of the poor, government of common man" will again be formed after the 2014 elections.

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