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Rahul in Allahabad today but politics not on his agenda

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will be in Allahabad on Wednesday to attend functions a seminar on Dalits at Gobind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute in Jhansi,and inauguration of a children ward and a cancer treatment centre at Kamla Nehru Hospital in the city

Written by Prashant Pandey | Allahabad |
August 1, 2012 6:26:53 am

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will be in Allahabad on Wednesday to attend functions — a seminar on Dalits at Gobind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute (GBPSSI) in Jhansi,and inauguration of a children ward and a cancer treatment centre at Kamla Nehru Hospital in the city. Politics,however,is completely off his agenda and no Congress worker or local leader has been invited to the two functions.

The visit comes amid renewed talks of Rahul taking up a larger national role in the party. This will be the Gandhi scion’s first visit to UP after the party’s poor show in the recent Assembly elections; he had launched his party’s electoral campaign from Allahabad.

Rahul’s first stop,the seminar,is on the subject of “Democracy and the dreams of neglected communities”. “Rahul will listen to the thoughts of the Dalit writers from across the state and also present his own views on the matter,” said Prof Badri Narayan,the head of the Dalit Resource Centre (DRC),which is organising the event.

Rahul will also visit Kamla Nehru Hospital in the city,where he will inaugurate a 12-bed children ward and revamped ICU and cancer treatment centre. His father,former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi,established the treatment centre in mid-1980s but it was not functioning to its full capacity.

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Rahul’s team is learnt to have consulted with the GBPSSI on the presence of Dalit pockets before finalising his secret and sudden appearances in Dalit-dominated villages and Bastis in districts like Sant Ravi Das Nagar (Bhadohi) and Mirzapur on November 1 and 2 last year.

Prof Narayan,while refusing to comment on whether GBPSSI sent the invitation to the Congress leader or the latter was himself interested,said: “It is true he has always been interested in the intellectual work being done on Dalits and tomorrow’s visit is going to be completely for intellectual purposes; completely apolitical.”

Meanwhile,the apolitical visit has surprised the local Congress unit. “Usually,there is a set of party workers who usually accompany him whenever he is here. But they too have not been invited. We do not know whether to go there or not,” said a senior district Congress committee functionary.

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