United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi said on Sunday that the central government gave priority to Uttar Pradesh (UP) in development matters.
“The Centre is more than keen to accelerate the development of the state but it needs the support of the state (government),” she said in Kanpur, where she inaugurated the services of 12 new trains.
In addition, the distance covered by seven trains has been extended.
In political circles, Gandhi’s statement has been read in the context of the UP assembly polls, to be held by 2012.
Gandhi is president of the Congress and MP from Rae Bareli.
“I am of the view that parties must rise above politics when (it comes to development),” she said, adding that “the state’s cooperation is needed (in this)”.
“The Centre will take more interest in UP’s development in the days ahead,” she told the audience.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Gandhi was focusing on UP. She said the state, which had given the country a number of prime ministers, was set to send up one more — a clear reference to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, MP from Amethi.
Banerjee said that Gandhi wanted her to do as much as possible for UP in the railway budget, scheduled for presentation in Parliament on February 26.
“It is the first time after independence that the state got so many trains and rail projects. UP is very important; it will get more,” Banerjee said.
Gandhi too said the state got trains and projects after a long time and it has “made my visit worthwhile”.
She praised the UPA policies, which she said prevented the country from being affected by the global recession. “The government never let any development project cease for (lack of funds),” she said.