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Mayawati takes on Rahul Gandhi, point by point

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
August 09, 2008 19:53 IST
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Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi may have been lauded for his recent speech in defence of the nuclear deal in Parliament, but Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is not convinced.  

In a scathing attack on the scion of India's first political family, Mayawati sought to impress upon a massive rally of her party workers on Saturday that Rahul's claims were "false and misleading".

She seemed to surprise all when she chose to knock down Rahul's arguments in favour of the nuclear deal .

Referring to him as "Yuvaraj' (Prince) of the Congress party , she said, "Rahul might have made tall claims about the nuclear deal coming to  transform the energy profile of the country and thereby the lives of common people in the country, but I would like to ask him why the rest of the world had not been able to promote this sector?"

She said, "Even the advanced nations of the world like the United States admitted that nuclear generated power was 60 per cent more expensive than thermal power; that was the reason US had not set up any new nuclear power plant for many years now."

Drawing attention of the audience to the hazards of nuclear energy, she even referred to the Chernobyl disaster in the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Embarking upon the dire shortage of Uranium -- the raw material for nuclear energy -- she asked, "Even the entire global uranium reserve would not last 50 years, so how could such nuclear power plant be sustained?"

She went on to point out, "Do you know that only six per cent of the world's power production comes from nuclear energy."

Urging her audience not to get carried away by "Rahul Gandhi's false propaganda", she lambasted him by adding, "He is busy claiming that the nuclear deal will once day bring about removal of poverty in this country, but I would like to tell him to stop misleading and misguiding common masses."

Referring to Rahul's forays into Dalit villages, she remarked, "All that drama of sleeping in a Dalit's home or having a meal with a Dalit family will not help."

Mayawati did not even spare former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi . "It was Indira Gandhi who started this drama of promising to remove poverty;  the same drama was staged by her son Rajiv Gandhi and now being carried forward by his son and Congress prince Rahul Gandhi ; but let me tell you, none other than BSP can  remove this poverty , arrest the price rise or look into your well-being", she said.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow