A week before polling, Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched her campaign in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, slamming chief minister Mayawati for removing tainted ministers close to the assembly elections and likening rival parties to political chameleons.
"The present chief minister dismissed 21 of her ministers on election eve. She was not able to see their corruption in the past five years. I want to ask whether taking resignations made her government clean," she said during a rally at a college ground. "Is this not cheating the people... not an attempt to cheat the people?"
Gandhi said non-Congress governments in Uttar Pradesh had ruined the state. She said the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party indulged in politics of opportunism, changing colours at convenience.
The Congress was the only party not to make any compromises, she added. "The parties that have formed (non-Congress) governments in the state have only brought destruction and miseries to the people."
She also addressed an election rally at Deoria. At both meetings, Gandhi said the Centre had provided Rs 1 lakh crore to the state government to implement welfare schemes, but the funds were not used properly.
She said the party's adversaries did not care about the problems of the people, farmers and the crimes being committed against women in the state. "The farmers have been left with only with a small piece of land. Whatever has been left with them is also under threat of being grabbed by the rich."
Highlighting achievements of the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Gandhi said the food security bill had been introduced in Parliament.
Gandhi was continuously cheered at both meetings, but the one at Gonda saw union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma being hooted in her presence. Gonda is Verma's Lok Sabha constituency and situated in the Kurmi belt.