Chandigarh, Nov. 13 (ANI): With Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati criticising Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi for his anti-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) remarks, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday hit out at her, saying there is a need to be louder with those who avoid coming to the discussion table.
To a poser on Mayawati criticising Rahul Gandhi for his latest remarks, Khurshid said: "As far as the Centre is concerned, Rahulji is our leader and he can call anybody and say whatever he wishes. He is in continuous touch with the Prime Minister, and whatever assignment is given to him by Sonia Gandhi, he does that. If Mayawatiji learns to talk by sitting in the front, there will be no need to comment something."
"The main problem is that Mayawati always avoids being in direct contact with others. If there is a big programme like the meeting of the National Development Council, the Prime Minister comes, all the leaders of various states come, but she does not come.
So, one who is sitting very far away, there is a need to be louder with them so that the message reaches them," he added.
Mayawati had on Saturday slammed Rahul Gandhi for his remark that 'a deep sense of anguish overtakes him when he sees corruption, poverty and exploitation of people in Uttar Pradesh'.
"Why does Congress' 'yuvraj' (prince) not feel angry over a series of scams that took place under the Congress led UPA Government and the spiralling inflation under its rule, attacks on people of UP and atrocities against Dalits in the Congress-ruled Maharashta," she said sarcastically.
Responding to a question on Rahul Gandhi kick-starting the Congress's poll campaign from Phoolpur in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Khurshid said: "Every campaign has a first phase, then a second phase and then a final phase. In the first phase Rahulji travelled a lot, he was visiting various places and we used to go."
"After Bhatta Prasual, Rahulji did a 'padyatra' and then a mass gathering was organised in Aligarh. He has now reached the next phase and in this phase there will be big 'rallies' and meetings in whole Uttar Pradesh. We will lift all this and take it forwards till the elections," he added.
Rahul Gandhi, who has become the face of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, will kick-start the party's campaign from Phoolpur, around 30 kilometres from Allahabad on Monday.
The campaign of the Gandhi scion is expected to witness a growing confrontation with BSP supremo and chief minister Mayawati.
The Uttar Pradesh elections, which are scheduled in the early part of 2012, is being seen as a stepping-stone for the Congress Party to establish a firm political base in India's fifth largest and most populous state before the 2014 general elections.
Rahul Gandhi is leaving no stone unturned in giving a tough fight to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the forthcoming state assembly elections. His visits have focused equally on Dalits, Muslims, the other backward classes and Hindus. (ANI)