Sam Pitroda is new caste face as Rahul targets most backwards

Rahul Gandhi ended his five-day tour through the heartland of the Samajwadi Party strongholds in Uttar Pradesh by holding a big rally of the "most-backwards" in Akbarpur area of Ramabai Nagar on Saturday. And to ensure that his promise of good representation to them in politics hit home, Rahul brought up — perhaps for the first time ever — the caste of tech expert and old Congress loyalist Sam Pitroda.

"Twenty years back Rajiv Gandhi thought of bringing mobile phones to India. Do you know who brought them? Sam Pitroda, who is a Vishkarma, "Barahi" (carpenter). He brought mobile phones to your houses," Rahul told the crowd.

The AICC general secretary promised to fight the battle for the most backwards, and to bring "government for all" in Uttar Pradesh. "You are not given your due place in politics, that is why you are backward. But I am your soldier. Wherever you need me, I will be there to fight your battle," he said.

Pointing towards Congress candidates such as Mathura Prasad Pal from Akbarpur, Neetam Sachan from Bhognipur and Lalla Man Singh from Sikandra, and MPs like Raja Ram Pal, Beni Prasad Verma, on the dais, Rahul asked the crowd: "Did you notice that this stage has become bigger now as your leaders have come on this stage?"

Attacking the other parties, Rahul said that while the Congress had brought schemes such as the MGNREGA, "the BJP sold the name of god to win your votes, leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav talked of only caste, and Mayawati gave you nothing but corruption".

Other Congress MPs and Union ministers from the state such as Salman Khurshid, Jitin Prasada, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Annu Tandon, P L Punia and Raj Babbar were also on the dais with Rahul. Incidentally, BSP sitting MLA from Bhognipur Raghunath Prasad Shankhwar joined them there.

A surprising presence on the platform was Union Minister for Civil Aviation Vayalar Ravi. However, the reason for his presence became apparent by the evening. Rahul and Ravi later left together for Rae Bareli, Rahul's constituency, where the minister announced the formation of the country's first aviation university (Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University) at Fursatganj.

Sources in the party said Rahul would venture on his next tour of Uttar Pradesh in the last week of December.

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