Rahul Gandhi Cut Shorts Speech After Protest From Panchayat Members

Rahul Gandhi Cut Shorts Speech After Protest From Panchayat Members

6 November 2013
India Today
Ashwani Kumar

Jammu: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday faced a major embarrassment while addressing a gathering of elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions in MAM stadium in Jammu. Rahul was listing out the achievements of the Congress led UPA government when some of the sarpanches started shouting slogans against the state government for delay in imparting more powers to them as promised. As Rahul tried to finish his speech, he was again interrupted by sarpanches. Despite all attempts, the Gandhi scion failed to pacify them and within seven minutes he was forced to wrap up his speech and step down from the dais. The angry sarpanches kept shouting slogans even as the crowd began to disperse after Gandhi's speech. 'We have got nothing from the state government. Whatever we have received, has been given by central government,' shouted one of the sarpanches, prompting Gandhi to assure him that they will be empowered eventually. The alliance partners in the state are locked in a tug of war over incorporating certain provisions of the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution on Panchayati Raj. Rahul assured the sarpanches, 'We will implement the 73rd amendment. You will get your right. I will fight this battle for you. I will keep coming and ask the state government to expedite the matter. You will also have to fight this battle with me.' In another incident in the same rally, Ambika Soni, party incharge for the state affairs asked two state ministers- Sham Lal Sharma and Raman Bhalla to move aside from the way to the stage and make way for Choudhary Lal Singh and Madan Lal Sharma, the party MPs from the region, who were sitting in the first row. Both the ministers had to retrieve their steps and move back to the first row after being interrupted by Soni.