Uttar Pradesh Congress president Raj Babbar has said it was incorrect to say that farmers who came to the "khat panchayats" addressed by party Vice President Rahul Gandhi had filched the cots that were provided to them for sitting."The price of cots was not much and Congress workers were in any case not going to take them away after the meeting. The cots were meant for local villagers," Babbar told India TV in an interview. Answering questions, he said: "One should understand how things have gone wrong in UP in the last 27 years, when farmers, who had come to share their problems, took away cots on their heads, on motorbikes and bicycles. One should understand the pain behind this act," according to a release from the channel.Asked whether Rahul Gandhi's sister Priyanka Vadra will be given a bigger role in UP, Babbar said: "Priyankaji's role has always been there. Soniaji, Rahulji, Priyankaji may be individuals, but I see the family as a unit. This family has made many sacrifices for the nation and the party."
About a reported suggestion by party strategist Prashant Kishore on projecting Rahul Gandhi as the CM candidate in UP, he said: "Nobody has heard about this in the party. I don't know to whom he has said this. About Prashantji, I can say he may give his advice, but there is no such thinking inside the party, nor any worker has made any such suggestion."The actor-turned-politician lauded Congress' CM candidate Sheila Dikshit and said the former Delhi Chief Minister built the new face of Delhi post-independence. "Nobody can dispute that. Moreover, she and her family originally hail from UP's Kannauj. UP needs development, the state needs an experienced person. When young people fail to run a family, the keys are handed over to the elders. I am confident Sheilaji at her age will handle the state effectively."Babbar lashed out at the Samajwadi Party saying that it was now confined to a family of 12 persons headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav. "There is socialism only for these 12 members, but no socialism for those outside.' On UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's comment that Babbar, a former Samajwadi Party leader, has been a "rolling stone", he said: "A nephew can say anything about his uncle."