BJP slams Rahul Gandhi for sharing dais with a Maoist leader

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New Delhi, Aug 27 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday criticised Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi for having shared the dais with a Maoist leader during a recent tribal rally at Lanjigarh in Orissa.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar voiced this concern, while speaking to the media persons outside the Parliament here today.

He assailed Rahul Gandhi for sharing the dais with a Maoist leader identified as Lado Sikoka, who also addressed the mass gathering from the same podium used by the Congress General Secretary.

"The Home Minister must immediately clarify as to whether the dais was shared of Rahul Gandhi by the suspected Naxalite (Maoist). If this is the case, it's a very serious case. This is how the government wants to proceed ahead? The government such divided where the minister is taking side of the Naxalites (Maoists), and where the crown prince for them is sharing the dais with Naxalites," said Prakash Javdekar.

"This is totally unacceptable. The Home Minister must come clean and must make a statement," he added.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari, however, said Rahul Gandhi's visit was just a step to show that the indigenous community is not left ignored or isolated from the mainstream of Indian social fabric.

"Well, let us make one thing very clear, that the import of Gandhi's visit yesterday to Orissa to Niyamgiri was to send the larger message out to the indigenous people of India that their concerns are not unseen and unheard. By making this point forcefully articulately that he is the advocate of their interests in Delhi," said Manish Tiwari.

"They can get justice in the scheme of things within the Indian constitution as its stands structured, I think is a very strong and a very sensitive message to people who otherwise were feeling that they do not have a place in the mainstream," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, addressing a rally in Orissa's Kalahandi District, Rahul Gandhi said Central Government's rejection of environment clearance to a bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri Hills is a victory of the local tribal people.

Rahul Gandhi addressed the rally at the same place, where the UK-based Vedanta group has set up a refinery unit.

Earlier in March 2008, Gandhi had visited Lanjigarh area and said: "Some tribal youth had told him that they worshiped the Niyamgiri Hills and that their God was being snatched from them."

The Nehru-Gandhi scion"s visit to the backward Lanjigarh area came at a time when Vedanta"s mining plan in Niyamgiri Hills, home to Dangaria and Kutia Kandha tribes, has suffered a body blow with Union Environment Ministry rejected plans of India-focused miner Vedanta Resources Plc to go ahead with bauxite mining in the State on Tuesday, saying that it violated forest laws. (ANI)

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