Responding to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's assertion that she was “ready to go to jail” for the sake of development, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati retorted on Wednesday that she could well “have enabled Sonia to achieve her ambition” but had chosen not to do so. She had instead “allowed her to have her road show in Rae Bareli”.
Mayawati implied that since large numbers of people came out to greet Sonia during her visit to Rae Bareli on Tuesday, despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 being in force, her administration could well have arrested Sonia for instigating them to break the law.
Addressing a crowded press conference, the chief minister added that she would soon hold a rally in Rae Bareli to counter Sonia's charges that she was stalling development in the region and in the state. She did not specify the date of the rally.
She claimed Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had done nothing for their respective constituencies, Rae Bareli and Amethi. “Except dirty politics the Gandhis have done nothing for development,” she said.
“Congress workers brought their president to Rae Bareli who did a drama of going to jail without any reason and returned to Delhi yesterday.”
Mayawati’s remarks are the latest in the round of charges and counter charges between the Congress-led Centre and the BSP in the state, which started after her government cancelled the allotment of land for a rail coach factory at Lalganj in Rae Bareli district. The state government had said the decision was taken on the basis of a report that said land acquisition for the factory could lead to unrest in the area.
Mayawati has now directed Principal Secretary Netram to look into the complaints of Rae Bareli farmers that led to the decision. She said land was allotted without Cabinet’s nod.
Netram will submit his report in three days. It might come handy for the government to deal with the case in the high court, which has ordered status quo on the site. The next hearing is on October 22.
Mayawati said development in Rae Bareli could not be the benchmark for the development of the state. If Sonia was so concerned about UP, she added, she should take the rail factory to Bundelkhand or Poorvanchal, both extremely backward areas, and help in balanced development of the state.