Rahul backs PM and nuke deal

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Jalandhar, Sep 24 (UNI) Brushing aside the speculation regarding his elevation to the premiership, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi today said the country was being run by the ''most able'' prime minister at present and added that Dr Manmohan Singh was ''his favourite PM''.

Directing the Congress workers to refrain from projecting him as a Prime Ministerial candidate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, Mr Gandhi said, ''The country is being run by the most able Prime Minister, as a result, India did not suffer the worst global economic shocks in his tenure, which other countries have suffered.'' Mr Gandhi also strongly backed the Prime Minister on the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying, ''Dr Singh has done nothing wrong and the deal would enable the country's access to the best nuclear technology of the world and would fill the deficiency in the energy requirements of the country.'' While terming the Golden temple one of the most spiritual places in the world, Mr Gandhi said he had visited the shrine as a humble pilgrim.

When asked whether his visit to the border state was aimed at bridging the gap between the Sikh community and Congress, Mr Gandhi said, ''I do not find any difference between two, both are equal to me.'' About wide speculation in the media regarding his marriage, the 38-year-old leader said, '' Even I have learnt from media that I was going to have an arranged marriage soon.'' He declined to respond to further queries in this regard.

On the political victimisation of Congress workers by the SAD-BJP government in Punjab, the Congress general secretary reiterated that the party fully supported its activists, who had shown ''great courage to deal with any kind of vendetta'', adding that he had met at least 30 to 40 families, who had been victims of ''vendetta politics'' by the state government.

Later, Mr Gandhi also visited Katkar Kalan, the native village of martyr Bhagat Singh, and paid floral tribute to the statue of the martyr on the outskirts of the village.

During another stopover at Ludhiana on the last day of his three-day Punjab tour, Mr Gandhi visited the prestigious Punjab Agriculture University and also interacted with farmers.

He also addressed party workers at Guru Nanak Bhawan and promised them that he would visit the state again.

''I immensely enjoyed my present tour due to the proverbial warm-heartedness extended by the people of Punjab everywhere I went and would love to come back soon,'' he added.

UNI XC JN LPB BD2010

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