Rahul's talk catches on in Uttar Pradesh | india | Hindustan Times
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Rahul's talk catches on in Uttar Pradesh

india Updated: Apr 06, 2007 13:40 IST
Liz Mathew
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By focussing on development, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi seems to have touched a chord among people in Uttar Pradesh who say they are fed up of caste and religion-based politics.

People are now talking about good roads, better health centres, educational institutions and above all law and order in the underdeveloped but politically significant state as they get ready to choose a new government this month.

And a good many among Uttar Pradesh's voters admit that it is the MP son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi who has brought up these 'real' issues during a whirlwind tour of the state.

Surinder Jaiswal, who works in a private firm in Generalganj, said: "Yes, the political leaders here have been taking us for a ride in the name of caste. Enough is enough. Now we want good roads and other facilities," he said.

"We do not want to lag behind when other parts of the country are marching ahead," Jaiswal said.

A group of youngsters living in the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, campus voiced similar concerns.

"We know that any part of India is better than Uttar Pradesh. We hope now at least the youngsters in our state will shift the focus from caste-based politics," said Pervez Chauhan.

Many people said that Rahul's roadshow had brought about changes in the form of the campaigning in the state, which will have seven-phase polls from April 7.

"It was so pleasant to see Rahul, who was speaking of development instead of indulging in mudslinging against rivals. As 'UP-ites' (residents of Uttar Pradesh), our ears have been deafened by such negative campaigns," said Umesh Yadav, who runs a shop in Kalyan Puri.

"He gives us hope that our state too can become developed. And one day, we will also be like Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad," he said.

Ravi, another resident, complained: "What do we have? Mulayam Singh's government has introduced extortion and gun culture, nothing else."

Many complained that going without power for 20 hours at a stretch had become a regular affair in Kanpur and adjacent areas. "Mulayam Singh has brought a lot of development in his home district Etawah and his son (Akhilesh Singh Yadav) in his constituency Kannauj."

"Etawah has a 500-bed hospital, 24 hours of power, drinking water and good roads. We are left to suffer because Kanpur had voted for the Congress," said Atul Tripathy, who was waiting to catch a glimpse of Rahul at the Kanpur Cantonment.

The bumpy roads - almost all of them potholed, frequent power cuts and chaotic traffic are the reasons why Rahul chose to emphasise on the need for a change in the state.

"Rahul's roadshow has inspired people to demand their rights. He has brought fresh life to the election campaign here," Tejaswini Seeramesh, an MP from Karnataka who was accompanying Rahul, told IANS.

Rahul, an MP from Amethi, seemed confident that he could deliver the change he was swearing by. "If I was not confident, I would not have been here," he said.

Talking to reporters at the Landmark Hotel in Kanpur, he said he wanted to breathe change into Uttar Pradesh politics by bringing more youths into the Congress party.

However, Rahul appeared to be aware of the poor condition the Congress was in the state, and said he aimed at a "long-term goal".

Said a senior party leader: "Rahul as well as the party leaders know that no magic can be done in Uttar Pradesh. But we want to establish a base on which we can build back our party."

"With Rahul on board, we can do it," Congress MP L Rajagopal said.