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Rahul attacks Advani, questions his leadership during Kandahar

Mocking at Advani, Gandhi asked, “Did he buckle under pressure when Kandahar happened or Vajpayee not believe in him. I want to know which is correct?”

india Updated: Apr 13, 2009 15:18 IST

Kochi: Attacking BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Monday questioned his credentials as a 'strong leader' saying he was the Home Minister of the country when terrorists were released at Kandahar.
Quoting Advani that he did not know about the release of the terrorists, Gandhi, addressing a press conference said, "there are two possibilities. (Either) he is not telling the truth or his senior leader...the PM...Vajpayee did not trust him."
"You should have resigned if the PM did not have faith in you," he said.
Mocking at Advani, Gandhi asked, "Did he buckle under pressure when Kandahar happened or Vajpayee not believe in him. I want to know which is correct?"
Talking about his sister Priyanka’s statement that she wanted to see him (Rahul) as the PM, the young leader said that he did not think his sister could have made such a statement.
"There is a twist to that. My family has always seen politics as (something) what you do for the country rather than where you end up. Rahul Gandhi becoming PM is not an important issue...," the AICC general secretary said, brushing aside the matter.
Backing the Prime Minister, Gandhi hailed Manmohan Singh and described him as "young". He referred to the policies of the party and the stand of Singh on various issues to buttress his point that Singh was young.
On the BJP’s statement that the Prime Minister should be from the Lok Sabha and contest the elections, Gandhi said, "I can give it in writing that if he contests from any seat in Punjab, he will win by a smashing majority".
The Congress general secretary said that health concerns prevented Singh from contesting the LS polls as electioneering was a stressful affair.
Gandhi also slammed UP chief minister Mayawati who mocked at his visits to Dalit houses in UP and said poverty was not being tackled well in the state.
Contesting from Amethi for the second time, Rahul said he would continue to go and meet the needy and poor more and more.
Questioned about the SP manifesto which looks down on computers and English, Gandhi said that the world is globalizing and India is a part of it.
To a query whether his sister Priyanka should join politics, he said he would very happy if she helps him. "Frankly I would be very happy if my sister helps me in politics but you have to ask her this question," he said.
Gandhi however parried questions on his marriage after Priyanka hinted Sunday that she would be happy to see him married.
"I am busy in elections...I presume marriage would have to wait a while," the 38-year old, considered one of the most eligible bachelors, said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2009 15:03 IST