BSP govt promoting politics of caste, religion: Rahul
"Here in UP, people do not talk about the state. They talk about their caste and religion. Fifteen years ago, Andhra Pradesh was behind us. Look where it is today. But UP is continuously lagging behind in development," he said.
Gandhi was addressing an interactive session with youths in Ballia on the second day of his visit to eastern Uttar Pradesh to broaden his party's support base ahead of the assembly elections early next year.
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Image: Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi
'No development in UP for 20 years'
Blaming the state government for lack of development in the state, Gandhi said, "The Centre can only help by providing funds. It is the duty of the state to make best use of the money." Gandhi, however, regretted that the Central allocations were not being properly utilised in the state.
"The Centre provided funds for National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the National Rural Health Mission in Bundelkhand area but the money has not been utilised. Now, Rs 3,000 crores are being provided for weavers but we are not sure whether it would be used properly," he said.
'UP's youth need to rise to the occasion'
Asking the youth to change their mindset vis-a-vis caste and religion, he said once they come forward they can change the scenario in the state. "See the unity displayed by 500 farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul which forced the government to change the land acquisition law. If five youths come forward from every area, they can change the entire scenario in the state," he said.
At the same time, he cautioned, if the youths do not rise to the occasion, even God would not be able to come to the rescue of the state.
Bhatta-Parsaul village in Gautam Buddha Nagar on Delhi's outskirts was the epicentre of the recent farmers' agitation against acquisition of their land by the Mayawati government.
Image: A man rides a motorcycle carrying six children on their way back home from school at Greater Noida
Gandhi interacts with UP's weavers
But, he was told that they were being deprived of their rights because of "middlemen and brokers".
On his way to Ballia from Mau, Gandhi made an unscheduled halt at Niwada village in Mubarakpur area and met the weavers' community representatives beside participating in a chaupal (villagers' meeting).
He also visited a few houses and talked to women in the area, famous for its Banarasi sarees, and home to weavers who have been involved in the occupation for generations.
Image: Children weave a carpet in a Balia city factory