Rahul may lead agitation in UP, if needed: Sonia

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Rajiv Nagar (Kanpur), Mar 31: Calling upon partymen to launch a sustained agitation against the Mayawati government in UP, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today asked her cadre to be prepared to go to jail and said if required, Congress MP from Amethi Rahul Gandhi would lead them in their endeavour.

It is necessary to put pressure on the present Bahujan Samaj Party government for honest and meaningful implementation of the welfare schemes, she said in her concluding address at two-day state Congress open convention here. ''If required, Rahul Gandhi would lead the agitation and go to jail,'' the Congress president announced amid huge applause from Congressmen. ''Honestly speaking, it is the right time to put some pressure on the state government and only agitation and demonstration would not help,'' she added. ''All the leaders should now be ready and unite themselves to fight for the cause of the party in a united manner,'' Ms Gandhi said.

Though maintaining that personal vested interests had hampered the Party in UP she said, '' We are all in the same boat and if nothing is done then the boat will sink. We have to sail across against all odds.'' However, state Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said there was no need for Mr Gandhi to go to jail as the leaders and workers of the state were efficient enough to mount pressure on the state government.

Making a scathing attack on the Mayawati government without taking any names, Ms Gandhi said it was unfortunate that even after providing enough funds, the poor were not benefited from the central sponsored schemes.'' Now it is the right time for the Congress in UP to became the voice of the people and force the government to do something for the people,'' Ms Gandhi said.

Raking up the other issue of fake membership of the Congress in the state, she said a new membership drive would be launched very soon in the state and asked the workers to ensure maximum number of enrolment with the party.

''Now the delegates of this convention should reach all the villages and every household to inform the people about the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government'', she said while stressing that only a united Congress House could emerge strong and could become an viable alternative to the present government.

The AICC president said the Congress had always been a party with a difference and it always functioned on ideology and commitment rather than going for any political vested interest. '' ''The Congress has always shown the path for development and it is not a political party but a movement in the country,'' she asserted.

Further stresing upon the ideology of the Congress, Ms Gandhi said it was this aspect, due to which two former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had to lose their lives.

Talking about the party's beleaguered condition in UP, she said communal and caste based national and regional parties had grabbed the power for their vested political interests.

Stressing on the need for a strong organisational base in the state, she said the Congress organisation should be just like an Army with all the leaders and workers to be ' sepoy' of the party.'' You have entrusted me with the post of a ' senapati (commander)' of the Army but if the sepoys are not united then the Army can not win any battle,'' she explained to the delegates.

Narrating in detail the achievements of the UPA government, Ms Gandhi said the recent budget had given enough emphasis on the all-round development of the country besides giving sops to all the sections of the society.

''Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram are already working for the betterment of the poor and other oppressed section of the society,'' she said while lauding the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver schemes of the farmers in the country.

Ms Gandhi explained the importance of the venue( Nana Rao Park) saying that the Congress had always been close to the history of this park.

''Congress has a long history in UP and it was Allahabad where the party's headquarters was situated during the pre-independence movement,'' she said, adding the leaders of the state were among the front leaders who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of the country.


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