Rahul says I am blind, can’t differentiate between two Indians

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19th March 2007
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who is on a three-day visit to western Uttar Pradesh, visited Deoband on Monday. Deoband, which was started in 1866, is the center of the Islamic sciences in Asia.

A huge crowd of scholars and students at Deoband received Mr Gandhi who has always laid stress on education. Clad in a white Kurta-Payjama and the usual Namaz Headgear, Mr Gandhi talked to the scholars at the Madrasa and discussed various issues.

He interacted with the scholars as well as the students at Darul Uloom. He inspected the world famous Madarsa and tried to know the intricacies of the educational system.

"I am blind, yes I can't see…I can't differentiate between two Indians. I can't differentiate who is a Muslim, who is a Brahmin and who is a Thakur. I am blind. I believe that we all are one, we all are Indians," Rahul Gandhi said while addressing a mammoth gathering at Deoband.

"And yes I want to say one last thing, don't forget that I am the grandson of Indira Gandhi. If one Indian thrashes another then I will be there to stop it", he indirectly warned the divisive forces.

Addressing the crowd at Deoband, comprising mainly of Muslim Scholars and students, he said, "You need to work in a modern way, think in a new way and then only we can change the situation. Its in your hands, you will have to take the responsibility to change Uttar Pradesh and I will always be there by your side to accomplish the task".

"For the first time we saw a leader who didn't came here only for votes and politics. Rahul looked so genuine, he was more interested in the system of education, the problems and the welfare of the scholars and the students. He is one of the few leaders who met the students personally and not only the religious scholars. You can rarely see such a huge crowd in the area, there is no space even for Mr Gandhi to go," said a visibly happy Maulana Muqim, a scholar at Darul Uloom.

"Apart from meeting several students and visiting different parts of the Madarsa, he also met Maulana Margub Rehmani, Maulana Arshad Madni, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi, Maulana Ghulam Rasool Khamosh and Maulana Asjad Madni. We are really happy that he came here and stayed for so long," added Muqim.

"Although he wanted to visit each and every part of the Madarsa, he was unable to do so because of the crowds. It was unbelievable," said Muqim.

Earlier, Mr Gandhi addressed a public rally in Muzaffarnagar. "The sugarcane farmers face problems. Are you happy that I have to raise their problems in Parliament? Isn't it the duty of the state government to look after them? If it is to be changed, only one force can do and that is the power of the youth", he said.

"Please forget what happened in the last 15-years, come ahead and shape the future. Think about the future, it's your duty. I am here to help you accomplish the task. This is not a matter of one election, it's about the future of Uttar Pradesh, and I will be here after elections also. I am not going anywhere", he said.

"A young man came to me yesterday and asked ‘what should I do? What is my task?' I said, whether you belong to any caste, any religion, come ahead and take some responsibility, Congress is always there with you and for you," he told.

Rakesh Tikait, the son of Bhartiya Kisan Union Leader Mahendra Singh Tikait shared the dais with Rahul Gandhi.

In an informal chat with journalists, Mr Gandhi said, "Babri Masjid's Demolition was a grave mistake and it's a scar on our culture. If any of my family members would have been in active politics at that point of time, it wouldn't have happened".

"I remember my father told my mother that a conspiracy was being hatched to demolish Babri Masjid by the fundamentalist forces. However, my father said that he will not let it happen at any cost and will come in between for maintaining the secular fabric of the nation,' he remembered.

Commenting on the alliance between Congress and BSP in 1996, he said, "It was a sell-out alliance and a mistake. We will not repeat such mistakes and will look for alliances only where the party not loses its ground".

"Talks are going on with the Rashtriya Lok Dal and VP Singh's Jan Morcha for alliance in Uttar Pradesh", he replied to a question on whether Congress would go for an alliance.

Earlier, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who is on a three-day visit to western Uttar Pradesh for campaigning for the assembly elections in the state, received a rousing welcome at Khatauli. All roads in Khatauli were jam-packed to have a glimpse of the young leader. People were standing in long queues on both side of the road to welcome the leader in their area.

"I have seen such a huge gathering after a long time in the area. His youthfulness and agility is really commendable. Youths like me are easily identifying with him. Most of the leaders here try to woo the voters on the lines of caste and religion, but he is quite different, his only agenda seems to be that of development," said Ramesh Chauhan, a young man who was there to welcome Mr Gandhi.

During his road show in Khatauli, Mr Gandhi got down at a local shop at the Sri Devi Mandir Kanya Inter College and interacted with the people standing there. He also went to the Devi Mandir, which according to the locals is a very pious temple.

"This is a very pious temple, now that Rahul has visited here, everything will move well," said Sona Devi, who was there when Mr Gandhi got down.

In the morning, Mr Gandhi started his road show and reached Daurala and garlanded the statue of Chaudhary Charan Singh. He also addressed a public meeting there and said that only the youth can change the face of Uttar Pradesh. He also said that Congress Party's doors are always open for the young who want to lead from the front for the development of Uttar Pradesh.

"The current leadership of Uttar Pradesh is not letting the young blood lead the state. They are crushing the youths who want to lead the state. But the doors of Congress Party are always open for the youth who want to change the face of the state," was what Congress MP said at Daurala in Meerut.

"Look at Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, they are surging ahead and you are trailing backwards. You have contributed a lot in the prosperity of these states, but your state government is not letting you build Uttar Pradesh. If anyone can change the face of UP, it's the young generation. Sixty-percent of UP's population is that of the youth, then why is it so? Come ahead, I want all of you to lead, so that we can together change the state and revive the lost glory. Everyone, whether from any cast, religion or creed, will have to work in tandem to get back the lost glory of Uttar Pradesh," he said.

He further cracked down on the consecutive state governments in Uttar Pradesh saying, "The consecutive state governments in Uttar Pradesh for the last 15-years have cheated you, you voted for them, but they never thought about you and your welfare".

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