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Rahul eyes tribal votes

- CPM ideology obsolete, says Cong vice-president

Agartala, March 25: AICC president Rahul Gandhi was all fire and brimstone today as he rattled off the priorities of the “UPA-III government” which, he asserted, would hold the reins of power after the Lok Sabha polls.

“We have already given the people of the country rights to education, information, food and forests during the 10 years of UPA rule. When we return to power, we will give the people the constitutional right to health and ensure further empowerment of women by giving them 50 per cent reservation in representation in central and state legislatures,” he said.

Addressing a meeting at Koroimura, 3km from the Bangladesh border, Rahul, who took the dais at 2.33pm, also batted for rights and privileges of indigenous people with an eye to the 31 per cent indigenous electorate in Tripura.

“We have given you the right to forests and other rights but I know the autonomous district council for indigenous people here needs further empowerment. We have approached the Union ministry of home affairs and they have agreed. An appropriate bill will be passed by Parliament,” he said.

Unsparing in his attack on the CPM-dominated Left Front, Rahul described the ideologies of the Left parties as “obsolete”. “Communism has disappeared from the countries of its origin in erstwhile Soviet Russia and East Europe and China has effected major changes in its economic thinking and brought about reforms and that is why it is prospering. The Indian Marxists should draw lessons from them,” he said.

Citing statistical data compiled by the Union ministry of home affairs, he deplored the “abnormally high incidence of crimes against women” in Tripura.

He said over the past decade of UPA-I and II rule, 15 crore poor people had been brought above the poverty line. “To me, economic development means development and prosperity of the people and we are doing this. Unfortunately, the people in Tripura are deprived. It is the only state where recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have not been implemented.”

He described the CPM rule in Tripura as “highly sectarian and party-centric”. He said the Marxists have linked up the vital question of people’s livelihood with their political loyalties. “I know the people of Tripura are oppressed and deprived but this can be ended only if we can unseat the Left Front government democratically. I am a soldier in this fight and I shall always be with you.”

He regretted that central funds for development were being misused or stashed away by the Left Front government. “The CPM has vanished from Kerala and West Bengal and we must make sure that they are unseated from power in Tripura also. Only then can you make a government of your choice and it will perform its constitutional, legal and economic duties,” he said.

His speech was preceded by that of leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman, PDF leader Ajay Biswas, NCT leader Animesh Debbarma and INPT leader Bijay Kumar Hrangkhawal.

Rahul returned to Calcutta after addressing the meeting.


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