Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh): His remarks after the Mumbai blast generated considerable controversy, and provoked criticism from the BJP. Today, during a tour of Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said, "I understand terrorism... it has killed my father, my grandmother. I am no stranger to it."
After the serial blasts in Mumbai last week, Mr Gandhi said "I don't say it is impossible... it is very difficult to stop any single terrorist attack," he said, adding that 99 per cent of attacks had been stopped. "We must stop 100 per cent attacks."
The Congress General Secretary referred to December 1999 when the BJP was in power and freed three terrorists in exchange for 178 passengers who had been taken hostage on flight IC-814 from Kathmandu to Delhi. Among those released from prison was Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Mazood Azhar. "They released the terrorists. With folded hands, they freed the biggest terrorists in our prison," Mr Gandhi said. "That man then went on to plan 26/11. And these people are trying to teach us about how to tackle terrorism. We don't bow down before anyone."
And then in what came across as an attempt to over-write his remark last week, Mr Gandhi said, "We are committed to fighting terror with everything we have."
Mr Gandhi was in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh today to galvanise the Congress in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Assembly elections early next year. Seeking to establish direct contact with people, Rahul stopped at a roadside kiosk to have snacks on his way to Mau. During his brief stopover, the Congress leader also interacted with villagers. He also undertook a boat ride to reach Kataka village in Piprauli block to hold a 'chaupal' (villagers' meeting).