New UP Cong president propogates 'unified leadership'

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Lucknow, Oct 3 (UNI) Newly-appointed president of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) Rita Bahuguna Joshi today propogated a 'unified leadership' to enable the party regain lost ground in the state.

Ms Joshi, who arrived here from New Delhi, was welcomed by party workers who jostled at the stage to garland her. In the process, a mini stampede was witnessed leading to a chaos. Senior party leader and Union Minister Mahabir Prasad said it was unbecoming of Congress workers.

In her address, the newly-appointed UPCC president said she preferred taking along outgoing state unit chief Salman Khurshid in her efforts to help party regain lost ground. ''I have always adressed you as Salman bhai...I will not let you go so easily,'' she said.

She claimed that while she was open to criticism, she would request party leaders to guide her in her new assignment. ''Aapka margdarshan chahiye (I need your guidance),'' she added.

Ms Joshi, who was till recently the president of All-India Mahila Congress, said she was pained when farmers committed suicides in districts where the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) was in place. ''I feel hurt when sugar mills are shut down or when police committed atrocities on the common man,'' she added.

The former All-India Mahila Congress president said the biggest challenge for the party was to take on the communal forces as the development of the country depended on their elimination. ''We will pray in Ramzan and Navratras so that we get the desired strength.'' Speaking on the occasion, outgoing UPCC president Salman Khurshid said he was handing over a child to Ms Joshi and hoped that the 'child' would bring laurels to AICC president Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Earlier, Ms Joshi reached the UPCC headquarters here in a long procession from the Charbagh railway station. Her welcome procession which took hours to reach the UPCC, resulted in masssive traffic jams.


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