When it comes to politics even government programmes gets embroiled.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry realised this when the district administration in Rai Bareilly, the constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, detached itself from a Central Government programme and refused to cooperate. The ministry was organising a Public Information Campaign (PIC) about the Central government schemes.
The sudden turn of events took place after the Samajwadi Party MLA from Bachwara Ram Prasad Akhela opposed the Central government programme and threatened to damage the event venue. The threat apparently prompted the government on Monday to send two senior officials to Rai Bareilly to diffuse the situation.
The ministry of Information and Broadcasting had planned a five-day Public Information Campaign (PIC) from Dec 18 onwards in Bachwara, a SP bastion in Rai Bareilly. The campaign initiated from the current financial year, around the country, at the cost of Rs 12 crore is run in rural India to create awareness about various Central government programmes.
But, it was the timing of the event, four months before the scheduled elections that did not go well with the Samajwadi Party leaders led by Akhela. Learning about the event, he accused the Central government of misusing its resources to give publicity to the Congress in the state and asked the district administration not to become part of the political campaign. He even threatened to rummage the event if the Centre dared to organise it.
The only way-suggested by Akela was that half of the publicity should be given to the UP government programmes, a condition unacceptable to I&B ministry officials. When the field officials of the ministry contacted the district administration, they took a U-turn and refused to cooperate, a ministry official said. On Sunday, the ministry was briefed about the situation.
On Monday afternoon, two senior officials — AK Saxena, in-charge of PIC and Harsh Bhal, Deputy Director General in Press Information Bureau — were rushed on a rescue mission to Rai Bareilly, in a last ditch attempt to organise the mega-event. "Their task is to talk to the district administration and if required to the MLA to diffuse the situation. They have a couple of days at hand to resolve the matter," an official said, optimistically.
The UP government has been accusing the UPA government at the Centre of mistreating the state with regard to disbursement of resources and making an attempt to topple the government.
The Centre, on the other hand, is accusing Uttar Pradesh of poor performance in its contribution to national economy and overall growth of the country. At the National Development Council, the Planning Commission asked the UP government to improve its financial condition, attract more private investment, revive agriculture through incentives and empower people with Right to Information to usher an era of inclusive development.