Monday, November 29, 1999

Congress looks to Rahul to prepare anti-naxal road map

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Lucknow, May 17 -- As Rahul Gandhi reaches Mirzapur on May 18, the Congress leaders hope his address at a public meeting there will set the party's agenda to deal with the naxalite menace. "Rahul in his address may focus on the approach that should be taken to deal with the naxalite menace and thus set the agenda for the party and the UPA government," say the state's Congress leaders here. Rahul's visit to a naxalite affected district comes soon after the Congress president Sonia Gandhi made her point clear on the issue in the latest edition of party mouthpiece Sandesh. Besides stressing upon the need of dealing with the acts of terror decisively and forcefully Sonia has also laid emphasis on addressing the root causes of the Naxalism. Her observations assume significance in the backdrop of ongoing debate in the Congress on the issue. So the Congress leaders will focus on the backwardness of the region and target the Mayawati government for pilferage of central funds. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Rita Bahuguna Joshi is already camping there to mobilise the local people to make the meeting a grand show. All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Digvijay Singh and other senior party leaders are also reaching Mirzapur. "As the region has been the area of late Pt. Kamlapati Tripathi a public meeting there will send strong signals in favour of party across eastern Uttar Pradesh," said a senior party functionary. This will also be first visit of any leader of Rahul Gandhi's stature to any naxalite-affected area after the Dantewada killings. "Mirzapur is among the most backward regions. We want to fight the naxalite menace. But we will also like to find the root causes for the problem," said UPCC General Secretary Subodh Srivastava.

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