Jharsuguda (Orissa):  After backing tribals of Niyamgiri in Orissa who had opposed Vedanta's mining project, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said people facing displacement by the Posco steel project should get justice, proper compensation and rehabilitation.

"Congress is with the people to provide them justice. Development is essential, but the project affected people should be provided proper compensation and rehabilitation," Gandhi said during an interaction with tribals at a youth conference here.

 "If Posco provides proper rehabilitation to the affected people then we will be with Posco. If it fails to do so, we will be with the agitating people fighting for justice," he said.

The Nehru-Gandhi scion said he had earlier visited Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district to be part of the tribal agitating against bauxite mining there.

To a question about alleged non-payment of compensation to land-losers of Brajarajnagar coal mines area near here, Gandhi said Congress was with the people in their quest for justice.

Stating that the Communists opposed development and liberalisation, and the BJP only thought of development of rich, he said it was the Congress which always thought for the development of common people and their interest. The fruits of development should reach the common man without any bias, Gandhi said.

To a query on the BJD government in Orissa, he said Congress could provide funds from Delhi and development schemes for the welfare of tribals, but it was the duty of the state to implement them.

"If you are not happy with the present government, fight at the ground level, stage dharnas, agitation and change the government through the ballot," Gandhi said.

Stating that Orissa was rich in natural resources, but the people were poor, he said some states were progressing fast, but states like Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattishgarh were moving backward.

Gandhi also urged tribal women to form SHG groups and take the advantage of various schemes for their development.

Tribal should join politics: Rahul

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi asked tribals to join active politics in large numbers to ensure their empowerment and help solve long-standing problems.

"More and more tribals should join politics through which they will be able to solve problems being faced by them for ages," Gandhi said during an interaction with party members at Kotpad in Orissa's tribal-dominated Koraput district.

A large tribal presence in politics would play a significant role in empowering them effectively and elevating their position in society, he said on the first day of his two-day visit to Orissa.

Tribals as well as Dalits could make their voices heard if more people from their communities participate in politics and public life, said Gandhi.

Gandhi, accompanied by AICC's Orissa in-charge Jagdish Tytler, said Congress provided a platform for common and ordinary youths to move up the ladder even without any political links or influential background.

JPN/Agencies