A "giant elephant" in Lucknow was eating away all the money that the central government was giving for the development of Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said in Barabanki on while launching a blistering attack against Chief Minister Mayawati.
In an obvious reference to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its poll symbol, the elephant, Rahul Gandhi said: "We (the Congress government at the centre) have given Rs.165 crore. But there is a giant elephant in Lucknow which eats away all the money."
"We send money, we send programmes (to Uttar Pradesh). Across the country, NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) is functioning. Here (in Uttar Pradesh) it does not work. Your chief minister says rural employment doesn't benefit. That is so because money doesn't reach," Rahul Gandhi said while addressing a rally in this town a short distance from the state capital Lucknow.
Sharing the dais for the first time with his sister Priyanka, who has been handling the turf for him in his constituency Amethi, Rahul Gandhi said: "They (the government) do not talk about development. They will get large parks built but you will not get your food from there. It will not help in your development."
The Gandhi scion, who had campaigned in Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir earlier in the morning, was referring to the huge parks built by Mayawati across the state.
Referring to Mayawati's attacks on him for visiting Dalit villages, Rahul Gandhi said: "Nowadays this has become a fashion. Whenever I go to a village, they ridicule me saying I go to village, why do I not sit in AC rooms like them. But, for me, the real india is in its villages."
Focussing on the issue of terrorism, he said: "My father (Rajiv Gandhi) died fighting with terrorism. My grandmother (Indira Gandhi) died fighting it. We defeated terrorism in Punjab and today Kashmir also is peaceful."
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani for declaring that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was incapable of combating terrorism, he again brought up the issue of the 1999 Kandahar hijacking and the then BJP government freeing terrorists in exchange for the hostages.
"It was the BJP under whose regime Kandahar plane hijack took place, after which terrorists were set free by the BJP government. The same terrorist attacked our parliament and killed seven security personnel."
"Now, I would like to ask whether LK Advani ever bothered about the family members of those killed in the parliament attack?" he asked.