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Rahul exhorts party workers to oppose caste, religion based politics


Lucknow: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Thursday exhorted his party workers here to oppose caste and religion based politics to build a new Uttar Pradesh.

Briefing mediapersons at the end of a three-hour long closed door session of the party’s state coordination committee, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Digvijay Singh and state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Gandhi’s message was plain and simple – “we need not get into fighting individuals but we are here to serve the masses, understand their miseries and relate with their problems”.

The all influential Gandhi scion, who didn’t address the media, was stated to have hailed workers for the party’s success in the last Lok Sabha elections when it bagged 21 of the 80 seats.

He said his mission was to see the return of the party at the helm of affairs in the country’s most populous state in the next assembly elections in 2012.

“Involve the youth in a big way and get close to the real lives of common people”, was his mantra to the 39 members of the state coordination committee that is all set to prepare the party agenda for the assembly elections.

The coordination committee also unanimously resolved to press the party’s pending demand for a CBI probe into the arson and ransacking of Joshi’s house last month.

The party’s resolve to formally condemn Chief Minister Mayawati for slapping the Dalit Act against Joshi and for putting her behind bars was endorsed by Gandhi.

Gandhi devoted much attention to the prevailing drought conditions across the state as also to the plight of the people in poverty-ridden Bundelkhand, for which he had already been urging the centre to set up an independent development authority.

Reacting to Mayawati’s stiff opposition to the move, Gandhi said there was no intent to encroach into the autonomy of the state.

“The proposal was made in view of the fact that the Bundelkhand region was spread across both UP and Madhya Pradesh. And even if an authority was created, the development works in the two states would in any case be carried out by the respective state governments only,” Digvijay Singh said.

Digvijay Singh said Mayawati’s demand for a special economic package of Rs.80,000 crore was also discussed in the meeting. “Well the centre gives as much as Rs.50,000 annually to the state government,” he said.

But the state government “has not been putting it to appropriate use, simply because its priorities were all lopsided and the state was more focused on building memorials and installing statues”, he alleged.