Targeting the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government for "misusing central government funds", Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said "by the magic of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, elephant has now started eating money instead of grass".
Referring to the BSP poll symbol - an elephant - Gandhi said: "Normally elephants eat grass. But Mayawati has done a magic in Lucknow that makes the elephant eat money..."
"She has placed a 'money-eater' elephant in Lucknow," Gandhi told a gathering in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district.
"Whose money the elephant eats? It's not the money of Delhi government or the Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) government... It's all your money... It's the money meant for the development of the nation. The money is of the poor public, farmers and labourers. It doesn't reach you all," Gandhi said in his last speech of a five-day mass-contact programme that concluded in Kushinagar, some 300 km from Lucknow.
Accusing Mayawati of being "callous" towards the development of the state, Gandhi said: "She (Mayawati) looks at the world from a helicopter... I have also travelled in a helicopter... From above, Uttar Pradesh appears beautiful. But the reality comes to the fore when you see poor children without clothes, share meals with the poor, drink water from their wells and get an upset stomach."
"To understand the ground realities and problems of the public, she must come down from the helicopter and start interacting with the poor and underprivileged."
"Only after mingling with the poor and visiting their houses, Mayawati would come to know what is actually taking place in Uttar Pradesh," added Gandhi.
Dropping his familiar 'I-feel-angry' line to vent ire over the sorry state of development, Gandhi said: "I feel angry because Uttar Pradesh deserves to lead the nation... Uttar Pradesh drives the entire nation, but the state itself is lagging behind. It's because for the last 20 years, you all are choosing a government that works for a single caste or religion."
"Yesterday (Friday) night I travelled around 40 km. Due to the bad roads, it took around two hours and a half to cover the distance... It makes you laugh, but I get angry when you see the farmers taking the same bad roads to sell their produce. There are more potholes than the roads," added Gandhi.