Uttar Pradesh: Congress bastions struggling to get attention of the past
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is the Rae Bareli MP. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi in the Lok Sabha. When the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power, they initiated a number of projects for the two VVIP constituencies.lucknow Updated: Aug 05, 2017 13:59 IST
Rae Bareli and Amethi, pocket boroughs of the Congress’s first family, are now struggling to draw attention to their problems after change of governments at the centre in 2014 and in Uttar Pradesh this year, those associated with the party say.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is the Rae Bareli MP. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi in the Lok Sabha. When the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power, they initiated a number of projects for the two VVIP constituencies.
Any problem in the two constituencies caught the attention of the Congress’s top leadership who ensured an early solution.
With the situation having changed, the Congress held a dharna (sit-in) in Rae Bareli on Thursday, demanding that the outpatient department (OPD) be made functional at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) set up in Sonia Gandhi’s constituency at her instance.
As for Amethi, Rahul Gandhi flew down to Lucknow for a brief visit early this week to request the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to resolve issues concerning the farmers of the constituency.
A major agitation at both the places is not ruled out if the situation on the ground does not change.
Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency representative KL Sharma, who led the dharna on Thursday, said: “Yes, we organised a daydong dharna at Shahid Chowk in Rae Bareli on Thursday to demand that the OPD at AIIMS be made functional. The OPD building (has reached) completion. Rae Bareli is not getting power supply as promised. The Yogi government has promised 24-hour power supply at the district headquarters and 18 hours in the rural areas. Undeclared rostering (load shedding) is being enforced in Rae Bareli now. Rae Bareli city does not get the promised 24 hours of power. The rural areas do not get power for 18 hours.”
Sharma said many other projects were also lying incomplete and the condition of roads had become bad. “We often hear rumours that the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) may be shifted from Rae Bareli to Varanasi. The City Resource Centre set up in Rae Bareli has not been started. Not much progress has been made on the rail wheel factory of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam. Rahul Gandhi had announced setting up of Aviation University at Rae Bareli in 2013 and its building is nearing completion. Work on four- laning of the Rae Bareli-Allahabad highway is not going on at the desired pace. A number of other projects too are moving at a slower pace,” said Sharma.
The situation in Amethi is similar. Rahul Gandhi visited Lucknow this week to handover a memorandum focusing on the problems of farmers to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
He met the NHAI’s chief general manager and demanded that provisions of the land acquisition law enacted by the UPA government at his instance should be followed in paying compensation to farmers. “We will launch an agitation if the problems of farmers are not resolved as promised by the NHAI. Many projects launched during the UPA’s regime have been already shelved,” said Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha representative Chandrakant Dubey.
In 2015, Rahul Gandhi had led a ‘padyatra’ to the site of Shaktiman Food Park project in Jagdishpur (Amethi) to protest the shelving of the project.
Another major project, Hindustan Paper Mill, that was supposed to provide 10,000 jobs has also been shelved. The Amethi campus of the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Allahabad was also shifted from the district after the NDA came to power.
Instead, a satellite campus of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University was announced in Amethi.
When contacted, UP government spokesman and minister for medical and health Siddharth Nath Singh said: “Rahul Gandhi lacks conviction when his party raises issues of power supply and AIIMS OPD. His party supported the SP government that was to give power supply and the Congress was at the centre which was responsible for executing OPD at AIIMS. None he could execute and now finding excuses to blame a government which is four months old. Therefore, a man who lacks conviction can never lead. That is the case of Rahul Gandhi.”