Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said Uttar Pradesh was falling behind because its people were being manipulated by politicians on the basis of religion. He told a rally in Aligarh that he had been told by victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots that the violence that erupted last month was “politically motivated”.
Rahul, who had visited Muzaffarnagar with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh two weeks after the violence broke out, said that he had met both Hindus and Muslims, who had told him that there was no enmity between the communities.
“Both sides suffered. People of both communities died. And all of them told me that political forces were behind the violence, and they were ruined because of them,” Rahul told the crowd of over 10,000 people.
“There are sections of the political class that know that if they don’t divide you, they won’t win. If Uttar Pradesh is falling behind, it is because politicians are manipulating you. In the history of India, we have always stood together. The Congress tradition is to move policy without discrimination. Tell me, which of the Bills that we have passed are for the benefit of one class or one caste or one religion?”
Rahul mocked the Samajwadi Government government in UP as a “computer ki sarkaar”, but whose computers “chalte nahin hain, bijli aati nahin hai”.
“Dilli mein hum adhikar ki sarkar chalate hain. Shiksha ka adhikar, rozgar ka adhikar, bhojan ka adhikar, (We run a government of rights in Delhi, the right to education, right to work, and right to food),” Rahul said, referring to laws passed by the UPA.
In fact, the rally itself was called “Dhanyavaad rally”, with banners thanking Rahul for the new land acquisition and food Bills. In their speeches, Congress leaders like Rita Bahuguna Joshi seemed to give sole credit to Rahul for the Bills. “He promised you a land acquisition Bill, and he got it done despite complaints from the opposition,” she said.
With most of the crowd being farmers from Aligarh and neighbouring districts, most speakers spoke of Rahul’s role in the Bhatta Parsaul agitation, and said his “secret” visit to the area was the germ of the land acquisition Bill.
Rahul himself said, “Do you remember Bhatta Parsaul? Farmers like you were killed, and we took up your fight.