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Mulayam rebuts Cong charge...

THE ELECTORAL battle in Rae Bareli today further intensified with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav strongly rebutting the Congress charge of ignoring the district. Yadav sought to know what Congress president Sonia Gandhi had done for Rae Bareli.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 01:29 IST

…and asks: What has Sonia done for Rae Bareli?

THE ELECTORAL battle in Rae Bareli today further intensified with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav strongly rebutting the Congress charge of ignoring the district. Yadav sought to know what Congress president Sonia Gandhi had done for Rae Bareli.

Without taking the name of her son and MP from Amethi, Rahul Gandhi, the chief minister targeted him for his “childish behaviour” during election campaigning.

Assailing the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre of not taking care of the state, Yadav said during the last two years the state government had provided large funds for the development of the constituency.

Addressing a public meeting in Rae Bareli on Tuesday, Yadav said the constituency had been the pocket borough of Nehru-Gandhi family for decades but there had been no development. He said during the last two years the state government had paid special attention to speed up welfare schemes in the district. Apart from sanctioning Rs 1,026 crore worth developmental schemes, the chief minister said 24-hour power supply was being given to the district. He said Rs 18 crore had been distributed to girls under Kanya Vidya Dhan scheme here.  Though the ruling Samajwadi Party has fielded a little-know candidate Raj Kumar Chaudhury, it has been desperately trying to maintain its base in the constituency. The party, with nearly 1.29 lakh votes in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, had ended runner-up against Sonia Gandhi. With the people of Rae Bareli solidly behind Sonia, the SP presumably doesn’t want to lose second position to BJP stalwart Vinay Katiyar.

The SP had last week deployed Kannauj MP Akhilesh Singh Yadav to undertake a 30-km cycle yatra to campaign for its candidate. This is all aimed at keeping a tight leash on the assembly segments as the SP has three MLAs from the district. The Congress has no representation in state assembly from Rae Bareli.

Yadav also flayed Sonia for forcing the by-election on Rae Bareli. He said the issue of office of profit could have resolved by holding an all-party meeting.

He said the BJP’s Vinay Katiyar was a non-serious candidate as he was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha. Yadav said the government was committed to the welfare of the farmers and rivals’ plan to project the SP as anti-farmer would be thwarted. Party general secretary Beni Prasad Verma also addressed the gathering.