WITH AN eye on elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday asked party workers to maximise their output to strengthen the organisation.
She also inspected implementation of various Central schemes, including the ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
It was high time that party workers gave up their individualistic approach and did their best to strengthen the party instead of just handing over petitions, she said.
She asked them to introspect and find a solution to the prevailing state of affairs in the Congress.
Besides party office bearers belonging to Rae Bareli and its adjoining districts, Sonia met local delegations of the Youth Congress, the Mahila Congress and Sewa Dal volunteers to discuss preparations to be made for the Vidhan Sabha and the local bodies’ polls.
Others who met her had their own complaints. Gokaran Pandey, who came from a village in Saraini assembly segment, said the party should give tickets to loyalists only and not to party hoppers.
His assertions become important in the wake of reports that the Congress had assured tickets to two prominent leaders defecting from other parties.
As Sonia discussed these issues inside the NTPC Guesthouse at Unchahar, local Congressmen had heated exchanges over changes being proposed to the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency under the ongoing delimitation process.
“Your days of netagiri are numbered,” said a youth to Congressmen, who had come from Saraini assembly segment that may go out of Rae Bareli. Others, were, however upset. They demanded that their segment remain a part of the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat.
Another delegation demanded that the Congress give priority to the youth, while distributing tickets for the coming Vidhan Sabha polls.
Some others said that the proposed Railway project in Rae Bareli should be set up at Bachhrawan. “People of the area are ready to give their land for the project,” said members of a delegation.
One Samarjit Prajapati demanded that arrangements should be made immediately to ensure water in dried-up canals. Soon after meeting local people and delegations at the NTPC Guesthouse in Unchahar,
Sonia went straight to the Mohammadpur Kichharia village where people drew her attention to tardy implementation of the NREGS. “We have not been given job cards,” pointed out some villagers.
Others said the number of job cards issued was not sufficient. Sonia enquired about the work being done under the NREGS and said she would like to have a look at the work being carried out under the scheme.
So, Sonia and villagers walked half the distance, while the rest had to be covered in a vehicle for security reasons. Villagers demanded that more work should be made available to them under various Centre- sponsored schemes.
Sonia’s decision to go for physical verification becomes significant in the wake of her accusations that the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government is misusing funds being given to it under Centre-sponsored schemes.