In a move suggesting growing differences between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) has withdrawn the 'VIP' status of Raebareli and Amethi with regard to 24x7 power supply.
The two districts are parliamentary constituencies of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
The nine-month-old decision to provide round-the-clock electricity to these two districts was revoked late Thursday, after which power went off for more than four hours, officials said.
The Akhilesh Yadav government had run into rough weather when the power regulatory authority had sought a reply from it on the logic behind 24x7 power supply to nine districts, including Raebareli and Amethi, when other parts of the state faced acute power shortage.
While officials preferred to keep mum on the matter, owing to its "sensitivities and political overtones", officials privy to the decision told IANS that from now on, the unbridled power supply to these VIP districts would be "normal" - at par with other districts of the state.
"I would not like to draw any political inference. The fact is that the two districts have lost their VIP status with regard to power supply," a senior UPPCL official said.
Officials justified the move, saying there was growing demand for power and stagnant supply. "With the onset of summer, power demand is at its peak. We have to devise ways to accommodate every district," an official said.
Uninterrupted power supply, however, continues to other VIP zones like Mainpuri (SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's parliamentary constituency), Kannauj (chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple's parliamentary constituency), Etawah (home district of the `first family' of UP), Sambhal (constituency of Mulayam's nephew Dharmendra Singh Yadav) and Rampur (home turf of UP cabinet minister Mohd Azam Khan).
Congress spokesman Amarnath Agarwal said the move smacked of politics. He sought to know why some districts continued to get uninterrupted power supply, if power shortage was really the reason behind the move.