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Rahul Gandhi woos Muslims with quota promise

Saturday December 10, 2011 11:45:40 PM, IANS

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Lucknow: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday tried to woo Uttar Pradesh's Muslim population ahead of the 2012 assembly elections by assuring them that a new reservation policy would soon be in place for them.

"We will keep our commitment of providing reservation to minorities in the state," Gandhi told a gathering of party office-bearers at the state Congress headquarters here.

"We will do it soon," he declared amidst applause.

Gandhi is on a two-day visit to the state capital to interact with party functionaries as well as candidates handpicked for the forthcoming polls.

"You must understand that the Congress was getting back to the main arena of elections in the state after a gap of nearly two decades; we were virtually out of the political battleground between 1991 and 2007, after which we got down to re-building the party from a scratch," he said in a reminder of his active involvement in state affairs in 2007.

He called upon party members to work hard for victory in 2012. "If you all take a vow and have the determination to win the coming election in Uttar Pradesh, I am sure nothing can stop you from attaining your goal," he said.

Gandhi also warned against infighting. "We must fight the election unitedly," he said.

"Let it be very clear that action would be taken against those who fail to work together - no matter how high and mighty the person be, he would not be spared," he said.

He described the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) as the potential opponents and dismissed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a spent force.

"Successive governments of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were largely responsible for the rampant corruption and crime in the state, so we have to go all out to fight them," he said.

Criticising the opposition parties' objection to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, he said: "We wanted to bring in FDI as a solution to the unabated price rise; but the entire opposition - the BSP, the BJP and the SP - joined hands to stall the move."

Gandhi would be in Lucknow till Sunday evening before returning to Delhi. He would be back in Uttar Pradesh for a five-day mass contact programme commencing Dec 13.







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