War of words between Mayawati and Rahul heats up
The war of words between Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has put the state's political cauldron on the boil.
With Rahul making Maya bashing a key component of his on-going five-day campaign across certain districts of Eastern UP, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo too has chosen to do a tit-for-tat.
If Rahul sought to give the impression to people in villages of Barabanki and Bahraich that Mayawati was against social security programs like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Mayawati was quick to get a retort issued on her behalf.
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Image: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi
'Rahul's intent is to mislead and confuse people'
"The UP chief minister had sought to point out at a public rally in Lucknow on October 9, 2007, that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which entitles a landless labourer to 100 days of employment in a year, was not a permanent solution to the problem of unemployment," said BSP state spokesman Swami Prasad Maurya in a press release issued on Wednesday evening.
While refuting Rahul's charge on NREGS, Maurya claimed, "Chief Minister Mayawati had further sought to clarify that if she were to form her government in Delhi, she would prefer to utilise the funds allocated for NREGS to a more concrete programme that would insure permanent jobs to poor people."
He condemned the Congress leader's "obvious intent to mislead and confuse the simple people of the state."
Interestingly, Rahul has been repeatedly trying to give the impression that it was not possible to understand the pulse of the people at the grassroots level unless one was willing to personally experience the travails faced by the common man in villages.
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Image: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
'Not here to win elections...here to change Uttar Pradesh'
"I have suffered indigestion on several occasions, but I will continue to drink the contaminated water that is consumed by the poor villager. Surely, it has helped me to understand the problems that the poor and downtrodden encounter every day,' remarked Rahul.
"If mixing with the people to understand their problems and issues affecting them is a drama, I will continue with this drama throughout my life. I am not here to win elections...I am not going any where...I am here to change Uttar Pradesh," declared Rahul.
As if to buttress his point, Rahul chose to have his lunch under the shade of a tree in Dhanauli village of Bahraich district on Wednesday.
The BSP spokesman was, however, quick to rebut Rahul's proclamation about him being the only political leader to relate to the common man in villages of UP, as he was busy sharing the "dirty" water they drank and the "frugal" meal they ate.
"Perhaps the Congress yuvraj (prince) has not cared to find out that the UP chief minister had visited as many as 81 Ambedkar villages, 80 slums, 88 hospitals and community health centres, 148 tehsil headquarters and 148 police stations spread across the state's 72 districts," Maurya said.
Dismissing Rahul's forays into dalit homes and villages as "utter gimmick" Maurya said, "Behenji's visits were aimed at not merely getting a firsthand account of the ground reality, but to also ensure prompt correction of the shortcomings as also instant action against erring officials."
Image: Rahul Gandhi speaks to villagers during his padyatra in Uttar Pradesh