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Afzal to be hanged when his turn comes: Rahul Gandhi

National,Politics, Sat, 09 May 2009 IANS

Mohali/Hoshiarpur (Punjab), May 9 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday said Afzal Guru, who is on death row after being convicted for the 2001 parliament attack, will be hanged when his 'turn comes'.


Reacting to the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) criticism of the Congress for allegedly delaying the hanging of Afzal Guru, Gandhi said the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist was 22nd on the list of people to be hanged.



'Afzal Guru will be hanged when his turn comes. Ironically, he is the disciple of (JeM chief) Masood Azhar, the terrorist released by the BJP government in the Kandahar hijack case. The BJP tends to forget what it has done in the past,' he told an election meeting in Mohali town near Chandigarh.



Gandhi said Azhar, who was released in December 1999 by the then BJP government, later tasked Kashmiri militant Afzal Guru to carry out the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001.



Azhar, a Pakistan-based militant commander and founder of the JeM, was among the three terrorists released after militants hijacked an Indian Airlines plane from Nepal to Kandahar in Afghanistan.



Gandhi attacked the BJP for trying to divide the country on communal and regional lines and not doing anything for the poor and common people.



'The BJP is trying to divide Hindus and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat while it is trying to split Hindus and Christians in Orissa. Women are being beaten up in Karnataka while migrants are being driven out of Maharashtra. We don't want two Indias,' he told an enthusiastic crowd at a rally in Punjab's Hoshiarpur town.



Trying to strike an emotional chord with the Sikh-dominated Punjab over the issue of the BJP leaders describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a 'weak PM', Rahul said: 'Across the globe, I am yet to come across a Sikh who is weak.'



'Manmohan Singh is the best prime minister that India can have,' he added.



Gandhi said the BJP had a habit of raking up non-issues.



'When they are in power, they never remember issues like the Ram Mandir (Ayodhya temple) and black money lying in Swiss bank accounts. The BJP never talks about the poor and poverty,' he said.



'This country needs a government for the aam aadmi (common man). Even Mahatma Gandhi did not have the rich people with him. His base was the poor people of this country.'



'There are two lines of thinking - one of the UPA and one of the NDA. Our (Congress) slogan is for the common man. The BJP picked up its 'India Shining' slogan in 2004 from TV. That too was in English which most people did not understand. They (BJP) cannot reach out to the real India of farmers and labour class,' Gandhi said.



Praising the people of Punjab, Gandhi said that despite being much smaller than states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Punjab gives India the maximum food and soldiers.


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