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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Rahul Gandhi a national leader, says Congress

IANS  New Delhi, September 16, 2013
First Published: 21:05 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 21:10 IST(16/9/2013)

The Congress party while taking a dig at the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, said its vice president Rahul Gandhi was a national leader with a pan-India outlook.

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The 2014 general elections are seen widely as almost a direct contest between the 43-year-old Rahul Gandhi and Modi, who turns 63 Tuesday.

Gandhi heads the poll coordination panel of the Congress, but it is not clear if the party would name him for the top job.

"Rahul Gandhi is a national leader as he fought for the poor tribals of Niyamgiri," Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das told reporters. "There is no hope on the national scene other than Rahul Gandhi."

In 2008, Rahul Gandhi, then general secretary of the party, supported the tribals who were against a mining project in the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha.

Stating that the post of prime minister was a small thing for Gandhi, who is keen to work for the upliftment of the poor, Das said, hinting at Modi: "He is not like those who become prime minister due to some arithmetic."

Criticising Modi for wooing ex-servicemen at a rally in Haryana Sunday, Das asked why had the Gujarat chief minister not done anything for the welfare of retired soldiers in his state.

"They should have been given five acres of land each," said Das.


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