Rahul Gandhi says Arunachal Pradesh very much a part of India

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Ranchi, Oct 15 (ANI): Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that Arunachal Pradesh is very much a part of India.

Addressing a press conference here, Rahul said: "Arunachal Pradesh is an Indian state. Tamil Nadu is an Indian state. Jharkhand is an Indian state. My attitude towards all states is the same and it will not change. For me, Arunachal Pradesh is like any other state. It does not make any difference."

He did not comment on how ties with China would improve when Beijing was raising objections to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's recent visit to that state.

Beijing said on Tuesday it was "seriously dissatisfied" by Dr. Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu had accused India of ignoring China's concerns by visiting Arunachal Pradesh.

Prime Minister Singh travelled earlier this month to woo voters ahead of Tuesday's state assembly election.

Beijing lays claim to 90,000 sq km of land in the border state, that it sees as "southern" Tibet and had already expressed its anger about a planned visit by the Dalai Lama in November.

India's Foreign Ministry said its leaders were free to visit states where elections are held. he Ministry said in a statement that New Delhi was "disappointed and concerned" about China's stance.

He said pro-poor schemes could be fruitful only if the State Governments implement them well.

Rahul said the onus lay on the State Governments to make the programmes initiated by the Central Government.

"The Central Government can design the programme and provide money. It has some levers to put pressure on the State Government. But it is the State Government that has to implement the programmes. If you look at Uttar Pradesh, we gave the NREGA. But when it started, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said it is useless and we will not run it. So if the State Government is not interested and if the government is of our opposition, we can not do much about it," he added.

Drawing a comparison between the villages and the cities, he said, there was a need to bridge the gap between the two and efforts should be made to develop the villages as well.

"There are two Indias. One India is of opportunities, today's' India, India of education, India of health, India of employment. The second is India of villages where the opportunities are less. More and more efforts should be made to bring together these two Indias. Where there are less opportunities, focus should be to provide more and more opportunities there," he added.

Rahul Gandhi is in Jharkhand on two-day visit to rejuvenate the state party unit, which is facing internal feuds. (ANI)

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