Lucknow: Reaching out to the people of Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2017 Assembly election, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today charged his political opponents with "paying lip service" to the state and asserted Sheila Dixit was "highly experienced" to change UP's face.
A day after lobbing "arhar (lintel) Modi " jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over spiralling prices in the country, Rahul held his maiden interaction 'UP Udghosh' with party's district, block and booth level workers and responded to their random questions, an idea mooted by poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
"Various parties have come to power in UP during the last 27 years. Some made people fight on Hindu-Muslim lines...but none talked about the state's development. There was a time when UP was in the forefront. It will once again take the number one slot," he said.
In a no-holds-barred attack on his rivals, Rahul said BSP, SP and BSP, dominant parties in the state, have indulged in "politics of lying". "Congress is one party that does not believe in pitting one person against another for narrow political gains," he said as he interacted with the audience.
On being asked about the incidents of Dalit atrocity, the Congress leader said the weaker sections were suppressed all over the country, be it in Gujarat, Haryana or Uttar Pradesh. "Wherever atrocities have been committed on Dalits, I have rushed to those places as Congress always stands for Dalits, farmers, minorities and tribals," he said.
To a question whether Dixit was fit enough to be projected as Congress's chief ministerial candidate, he said she has vast experience.
"Sheila has changed the face of Delhi. People in Delhi repent the mistake they did by voting for a party which is more interested in doing drama and no work," he said.
Rahul voiced confidence that his party will come to power in the state for which, he said, Congress workers should make people aware of the party's policies and programmes by staying united and transcending barriers of "groupism and petty rivalry".
Posters with slogan "27 saal, UP behaal" dotted the city's thoroughfares while welcome arches were set up on the road from the airport to the venue -- Rama ground -- where a massive ramp was erected for the Congress vice-president to interact with a large audience.
This was the first major interactive session of Rahul after he along with Congress President Sonia launched the party's election campaign by flagging of the "27 saal, UP behaal" yatra earlier this month from New Delhi