Battle of titans in UP: Maya, Sonia cross swords
Wednesday February 01, 2012 10:13:07 PM,
Lucknow/New Delhi: A
week before polling begins in Uttar Pradesh, the battle reached a
feverish pitch Wednesday as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BSP
leader Mayawati crossed swords, calling themselves the saviour of
India's most populous state.
Addressing major public rallies in UP where balloting will be
staggered Feb 8 to March 3, Mayawati accused the central
government of starving the state of development funds. Gandhi
asserted that Rs.100,000 crore given to the state did not reach
the poor and linked Mayawati to corruption.
In Sitapur, a Dalit citadel, an upbeat Mayawati pointed to the
large crowds that had gathered to listen to her as a sign of her
invincibility. She claimed that her government had done more work
in the past five years than any other government since India's
Asked if she was confident of winning, Mayawati said: "You can
judge seeing the crowds."
Pitching for an inclusive growth in the state which sends 80 MPs
to the Lok Sabha, Mayawati, the first Dalit chief minister of
Uttar Pradesh, said: "There is need to ensure progress of all
communities. Only the BSP can ensure that.
"The centre did not cooperate with us fully," she charged.
Holding her first rally in UP, Gandhi slammed the Mayawati
government for "inefficient implementation of centrally funded
programmes" and questioned the Dalit leader's motives behind
dismissing 21 of her ministers on the eve of elections.
Speaking in Gonda town, Gandhi said though the UPA government
provided Rs.100,000 crore in developmental funds to Uttar Pradesh
in recent years, it had not reached the poor because of an "inept"
Asking people to vote for the Congress, Gandhi said: ""Then, we
will have a government of the common people and the poor.
"The present chief minister dismissed 21 of her ministers on
election eve. She was not able to see their corruption in the past
five years. I want to ask whether taking resignations has made her
government clean? Is this not (a case of) cheating the people?"
Gandhi charged non-Congress governments of ruining the state since
the Congress has been out of power in 1989.
"These parties have done nothing for the state. They have filled
their own pockets," she said.
The Congress has shown signs of revival in the state.
The Congress won only 22 seats in the 403-member state assembly in
2007. But it swept 22 of the Lok Sabha 80 seats in 2009, finishing
second among four major parties and stunning foes and friends
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and RLD chief Ajit Singh
will address a joint rally at Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh
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