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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said his party will play the role of a powerful Opposition and not shy away from fighting for people whose voice is not heard.
He visited his constituency Amethi along with sister Priyanka for the first time after Lok Sabha elections in which the Congress lost power. In Uttar Pradesh, the party retained only Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Party workers said Rahul asked them to get ready for a struggle and assured them he would stand by people.
Accompanied by Priyanka, he told party workers: “Main janata ke liye ladunga… Hum sashakta vipaksh ki bhumika nibhayenge… Jahan janata ki nahi suni gayi, toh aag laga denge.”
They also thanked workers for electing Congress in Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Rahul said, “Irrespective of results in Uttar Pradesh, we are thankful that people of Amethi and Rae Bareli stood by us. We would stand by them.”
Party workers said they wanted to discuss poll results and the decreased victory margin. Priyanka, who had campaigned for Rahul, told workers she would return in a week to review poll results.
They visited Baraulia village of Gauriganj, where 65 huts were damaged in a fire on May 19.
Rahul and Priyanka distributed clothes, utensils, food items, soap to people from a tent set up by the local Congress workers. SP MLA of the area Rakesh Singh distributed “relief cheques” on behalf of the state government in a tent erected by the district administration close to the Congress’s tent.
The cheques were of Rs 20,300 for completely burnt huts, Rs 8,800 for partially burnt houses and Rs 6,000 for lesser damage.
“It is good they (Congress) distributed relief materials. But they should have distributed relief materials from the tent of the district administration. Almost an hour after they left, their tent has been dismantled,” Rakesh Singh told The Indian Express.
“Rahulji yahan aa kar dekhiye,” said 60-year-old Rajkali, who took Rahul to show her burnt hut.
“My son’s marriage is on June 20 and his ‘tilak’ on June 11. Who will give his daughter to a homeless now,” said Rajkali.
Her son Rakesh said, “While Congress leaders have given us clothes and the state government a Rs 20,300 cheque, nothing can be done with this amount.” Priyanka assured villagers she would try and get their houses built under Indira Awas Yojana.
Leader of Oppn: Cong says no legal bar for it
Amid confusion over whether the Congress with 44 seats in Lok Sabha will be eligible to claim the Leader of the Opposition post, the party Wednesday said there is “absolutely no legal bar” for it in getting the post.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said there is a difference between statutory requirements for making a person eligible for availing of perks of the Leader of Opposition and the Speaker’s discretion to recognise in functional terms the leader of a group or a party as Opposition leader.
Certain statutory preconditions may have to be satisfied in the first case. “But there is absolutely no legal bar over the discretion of the Speaker to recognise in functional terms a group leader or a party leader as Opposition leader,” he said. His views were echoed by former law minister M Veerappa Moily.