Mayawati visits Bundelkhand, lashes out at Congress


Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh) : Within days of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Bundelkhand and his criticism of the state government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Tuesday visited the region and lashed out at the Congress.

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Hitting out at Gandhi’s criticism of the government for the poverty among the farmers in Bundelkhand, some of who have taken their lives, Mayawati flayed the central government for “sitting” over her demand for a special package of Rs.800 billion for the development of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of the state. She announced her own package of Rs.17 billion for Bundelkhand in southern Uttar Pradesh.

Maywati was addressing a massive public rally at the Government Intermediate College grounds here, which was reportedly organised as a sequel to Gandhi’s visit to the Bundelkhand region in southern Uttar Pradesh earlier this month.

In an obvious retort to the Congress MP’s declaration that the central government was for an independent state of Bundelkhand, provided the state assembly passed a resolution to the effect, Mayawati said: “Let the centre initiate the process and we will do our bit to carve out an independent state of Bundelkhand.”

Her 100-minute-long address was not without her obvious worry over Rahul Gandhi’s bid to erode her Dalit vote bank. Reacting sharply to the Congress leader spending a night in a Dalit home in his Amethi parliamentary constituency last week, she said: “Do not get carried away and misguided by stunts being played by Rahul Gandhi; just remember that having a meal and spending a night in a Dalit’s home in Amethi is all drama.”

She also announced the setting up of a 4,000 MW thermal power station in Bundelkhand, a medical college in the region’s most backward Banda district, a para-medical college and an agriculture university in Jhansi and five polytechnics in different districts of the region. She also declared waiving of farmers’ loans up to Rs.50,000, totalling about Rs.3 billion.

A special allocation of Rs.4 billion was also announced for promotion of drip irrigation in Bundelkhand, where persistent drought for the past four years was responsible for worsening the plight of the already poverty-ridden people.