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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Rahul attacks 'divisive' politics
Rahul (left) and Priyanka Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi and his sister belong to the powerful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty
The latest member of the Gandhi family to enter Indian politics, Rahul Gandhi, says he believes passionately in "the dignity and intelligence" of India.

"There is a certain amount of assumption here that people in India are ignorant," he told BBC World's Asia Today programme.

"If I am incompetent, I am useless, the people of India will see that."

Mr Gandhi is an opposition Congress Party candidate in the forthcoming general election.

Speaking to the BBC in his first interview with the foreign media, he promised to fight caste and religious divisions in India.

India's not a divisive place... there will be a backlash towards this ideology
Rahul Gandhi
"My sister and I believe that what is going on in India today, the division of India along caste lines, along religious lines, is absolutely wrong.

"We believe in this passionately and whether it is my sister or me, we will fight this, no questions asked, all the way.

"India absorbs things, India's not a divisive place. You will see what will happen, there will be a backlash towards this [divisive] ideology and it will be a very, very strong backlash," he said.

Political dynasty

Mr Gandhi's sister, Priyanka, was widely expected to contest the polls but the Congress has fielded Rahul instead.

He did not comment if his sister would enter active politics and said it was not important.

"The question is what we believe in and what we stand for. Believe me, we can act outside politics and we can act inside politics for these beliefs and we will."

Rahul Gandhi also said it was "a humbling experience" to stand in the Amethi constituency in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where his father, Rajiv, had been elected three times.

Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber in 1991, seven years after his mother, Indira, was assassinated.

Rahul's great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, was independent India's first prime minister.

India votes 2004: Full in-depth coverage here

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