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Rahul ignores Modi, promises total transformation of Bundelkhand

October 30, 2013 17:09 IST

Rahul ignores Modi, promises total transformation of Bundelkhand

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Sharat Pradhan

Completely ignoring his sworn rival Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday promised total transformation of the extremely backward and underdeveloped Bundelkhand region in Southern Uttar Pradesh.

He also lambasted the Akhilesh Yadav government for allegedly “pocketing away” all the funds released by the centre for development and well being of Bundelkhand and its people.

“We gave a huge loan waiver for the people of this region together with a special economic package of Rs 3,000 crore,” he said, while asking the crowd, “Did you receive any benefit out of that,” to which prompt came the reply in a chorus with a loud, “NO.”

While Rahul flew in at Rath in Hamirpur to apprise the masses of the benefits of the Food Security Law enacted by the national parliament, the show was seen as the first in the series of his rallies in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Strangely however, instead of focusing on the parliament elections, he went about harping on the need to bring a Congress government in the state.

And since on Wednesday’s rally came close on the heels of two poll rallies addressed by Modi, speculation was rife that Rahul would hit out at his rival. However the Congress celebrity chose to refrain from even taking Modi’s name, not to talk about reacting to the oft repeated references to him as “shehzade”, which evoked sharp protests from other Congress leaders.

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Image: The rally at Rath in Hamirpur
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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Even as the crowd was incomparable to the mammoth gatherings at Modi’s rallies in neighbouring Jhansi and Kanpur barely a few days back, the youth and women who converged at the local IntermediateCollege grounds in good numbers to listen to Rahul, looked quite enthused and applauded him repeatedly.

He made it a point to tell the impoverished people of this region “to strengthen the Congress,” if they wanted to see any change in their fate.

“Seeing the backwardness of this region, the Central government gave a special Bundelkhand package, but the Samajwadi Party government has not cared to do any good for you. I have reason to believe that all the funds we release, gets pilfered.

Therefore, it is important that you must have a Congress government here too”, he said.

Highlighting how “two and a half decades of non-Congress rule had retarded the growth of UP”, he cited the example of Congress-ruled states such as Rajasthan, Kerala and Maharashtra “had reaped all the benefits of initiatives taken by the Central government.”

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Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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He also went at length on how Rajasthan in particular had gained on account of creation of a special rail as well as industrial corridor between Mumbai and Delhi.

“UP too could reap similar benefits provided the state government is inclined to take necessary steps, but the SP government is apparently interested only in giving out unemployment doles and not in creating jobs,” lashed Rahul. He added, “If you need jobs, you first need better infrastructure to attract investment, which will in turn generate employment.”

Responding to the local long-pending demand for bringing a rail network to Hamirpur , Rahul said, “Bringing rail here is no big deal; but that alone will not put this area on the development path; we need to do much more than connecting you with a rail network, which we will do.”

He added, “I wish you all ask for industrialisation of Bundelkhand, because that will insure transformation of your lives.”

Dressed in blue jeans and a white cotton kurta, Rahul flew in on a helicopter, together with state Congress chief Nirmal Khattri, Congress Legislature Party leader Pradeep Mathur and Union Coal Minister Shree Prakash Jaiswal.

Union Rural Development Minister Pradeep Jain Aditya, who is the Congress’ sole Lok Sabha member out of the four representing Bundelkhand, had been camping for the past few days.

Strangely, Rahul’s hand-picked leader of the party’s state campaign committee Madhusoodan Mistry was not given a place on the dais, where he was flanked by Khattri and Mathur.


Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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