In a veiled attack on the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday dubbed the Muzaffarnagar violence as a ‘divide-and-rule’ ploy of the political parties.
Launching the party’s campaign in Muslim-dominated districts of Aligarh and Rampur, Gandhi said, “I went to Muzaffarnagar. The sight was horrible. I met Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and people of other communities. They denied having any disputes.”
“India’s history shows that we have survived harmoniously and we have to stop political parties who are opposing communal harmony,” he said while claiming that the Congress never sought vote on the basis of caste and religion.
After the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, which claimed 48 lives and displaced 50,000 people, there was speculation that it was an attempt by political parties to polarise the state ahead of Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Armed with the ambitious food security and land acquisition bills, Gandhi held the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) responsible for Uttar Pradesh’s backwardness.
With the organisers dubbing the Aligarh rally as ‘thanksgiving’ by the farmers to the UPA for passing the land acquisition bill, the Congress vice-president reminded people about his march from Bhatta Parsaul to Aligarh in July 2011.
Gandhi charged the opposition parties with creating all possible hurdles in the clearance of the bill that would get them the right price for their land. He said: “I had promised that the Congress would take up this fight against arbitrary acquisition of land and we fought and finally won.”
Rahul threw questions to the gathering in his own inimitable style: “What is the Uttar Pradesh government doing? Is there any development taking place here? Are the laptops being distributed free really working?”
He also asked the people to press for implementation of food bill in UP. “The food bill provides 35 kg of grain to every family and scheme is applicable nationwide but in Uttar Pradesh it will not be implemented till 2014 elections as the government here feels that the credit would go to the Congress and people would not vote for them.”
On the timing of his much-famous “outburst” on ordinance on convicted politicians, Rahul said: “Do one have to wait for suitable time to speak the truth?”