Already in the midst of a bitter row between BSP and Congress, Rahul Gandhi on Friday took potshots at the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh, saying there is place for statues and elephants in the state but not development and spoke of the need for Congress to come to power there.
On a thanksgiving visit to his constituency, the first after the Lok Sabha poll victory, he avoided any comments on the raging row over his party's state unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's comments on the chief minister.
"There is place for statues and elephants (BSP symbol) but there should also be space for development and electricity," Gandhi said in an apparent reference to the controversy over erection of memorials for Kanshi Ram and statues of Mayawati in different parts of the state, spending huge sums of public money.
Against the backdrop of protests and police action in his constituency over serious power shortage, he said, "If you want power you should have a Congress government in Lucknow.
In three years you have to form a Congress government in Lucknow. Then I will be able to respond to questions on power.
Gandhi said, "I know there is a power problem.....I met Shindeji (Union Power Minister).
With the (Central) programme we can install transformers and poles but power is generated by the state government."
He lamented that the generation of power in the state remained at the level it was 25 years ago.
Gandhi said he was aware that unemployment was a big problem and he was working on what kind of a project could be started in Amethi to give employment to the locals.
"In the next five years, I will do something to bring up big projects," he promised.
Gandhi spoke of bringing a railway project and national highway in the constituency. "We want to do more but did not get land. Till the government in Lucknow does not work for the people of the state progress will not be possible," he said.
Thanking the people of the constituency for the victory of the Congress and striking a personal cord, he said the relations between him and the people of his constituency were not political but personal.
"Wherever I go......I think about Amethi. I enjoy working with you and I don't consider this as work," he said.