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Rahul tears into Modi campaign at Cong mega meet

It is rule through empowered elected representatives ... We will not respond by lighting fires of communal hatred and turning people against one another. We don’t respond by proposing that structures of democracy be handed over to one man,’ said Gandhi during the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet held at Talkatora stadium.

On similar lines, his mother and party’s president Sonia Gandhi said: ‘Secularism and communal harmony are not election issues for the Congress. It is our commitment to the nation. Communal forces a great danger to our nation. Sometimes I feel that we have not fulfilled all aspirations of the people.’ After her speech, there was an instant clamour from party workers to hear Rahul. Gandhi scion intervened and said he would reveal what is in his heart later in the day. This was greeted by a thunderous applause from the crowd, who chanted: ‘We want Rahul as our PM.’

In his nearly 45-minute speech, the 43-year old year leader, while referring to the issue of his not being projected as the prime ministerial candidate, said, ‘Our MPs will elect the new prime minister in accordance with the constitution.’

In her speech Sonia reiterated her decision taken on Thursday night. ‘The decision on Rahul taken last night is final,’ she said. Gearing up for the upcoming polls, she told the gathering, ‘We meet today to send the clear signal that Congress is ready and prepared for the battle ahead.’

Rahul also raised the issue of the number of subsidised LPG cylinders, asking prime minister Manmohan Singh to raise it from nine to twelve, an issue on which the party MPs have already been campaigning for. ‘Pradhan mantriji nau cylinder kaafi nahi hai. Bara chahiye (Subsidised LPG cylinders should be raised from 9 to 12)’, Rahul told the prime minister.

He said the coming elections are a turning point in the country’s journey and the Congress should transform itself by catering to the aspirations of the common man and ordinary worker. Continuing his veiled attack on Modi, he said, ‘These people can sell combs to bald men.’ He also attacked the Aam Aadmi Party saying, ‘Some new people have come, who have already started giving hair cut.’

He said 15 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats in his party will be given to candidates on the basis of decision by pradhans and Congress workers. ‘We should be wary of those coming from outside to get tickets. We should listen to the voice of the Congress workers and give tickets to those who are Congressmen by heart and thinking. It does not mean we close the doors of Congress for others. We need new ideas.’
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