The battle for Uttar Pradesh has started with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi holding a rally on Monday at Phulpur, his grandfather and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's constituency. Monday also marked the birth anniversary of Nehru. Ironically, Phulpur is a constituency which has never been won by the Congress party since 1984, and which now sends all kinds of criminals and mafia dons to the state assembly.
Ironically again, the platform which Rahul Gandhi used to kickstart his ambitious UP campaign was overshadowed by acts of violence. Some of the seniormost leaders of the Congress, including Union Ministers Salman Khursheed and Jitin Prasada, were caught on camera kicking and abusing Samajwadi Party protesters waving black flags at the rally. The incident is sure going to be used aggressively by the SP and the BSP against the Congress in a campaign which is getting viciously personalised.
How did the UP Chief Minister Mayawati respond to Rahul's allegation of rampant corruption and mismanagement in the state? Well, she announced a Rs 45-crore package for the development of the madrasas in the state - a clear sign of how each party is desperate to corner the critical Muslim votes.
To conclude, I think one of the statements made by Rahul Gandhi at the rally – that people from UP go to states like Maharashtra to 'beg' for jobs because the UP government does not provide them any opportunity here – might end up causing huge embarrassment to him and his party.
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