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Rahul under fire over 'Punjabi' comment

Chandigarh, January 27 2012, DHNS: 0:41 IST
A controversy over an alleged remark on the people of Punjab by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday during his 13-minutes speech in Mansa has left the ruling Akali Dal fuming.

Taking a dig at promises of SAD to turn “Punjab into California”, Rahul Gandhi, who began his speech by reciting the three holy words “Sat Sri Akal”, said Punjab residents do not need California but only want Punjab to prosper in the real sense.

“My mother belongs to Italy. When I go there I see farms there are controlled by Punjabis, so is the case in Canada, England and America. Then where is the need to have California?” Rahul had said.

Youth Akali Dal president and Sukhbir Badal’s brother-in-law Bikramjit Majithia said his party has taken a strong exception to the comment and seeks an apology from Rahul Gandhi.

Majithia, in a statement on Friday, said that Rahul described proud “Punjabis as labourers of Italy from where his mother Sonia Gandhi hails”. He said the Congress should resist from “deliberate” and mischievous attempt to “denigrate” Punjabis across the globe.

He said Rahul has deliberately not dwelled on the fact that some Punjabis are ministers in Canada and Judges of the US Supreme Court and Punjabi scientists were Nobel laureates. He said Rahul has tried to lower the esteem of Punjabis by saying that thousands of people from Punjab are working as labourers in Italy.

Rahul, who asked the people of Punjab to ensure a crushing defeat to the SAD-BJP alliance, slammed BJP leader LK Advani on the issue of corruption.

Rahul said Advani during his yatras talks about fighting corruption but it is strange that he cannot see corruption in BJP-ruled states. Rahul said Advani doesn’t see corruption in Karnataka, Punjab and Chhattisgarh.

“In Parliament, we wanted a strong Lokpal as a constitutional body like the Election commission. But the BJP-Akali alliance pressed the red button and did not let the Bill pass,” added Rahul.

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