PM refuses comments on Rahul’s Jhansi protest

April 18th, 2008 - 11:06 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday refused to comment on the controversy over Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Jhansi where he and his supporters had a standoff with the local administration. Asked to comment on the kind of treatment meted out to Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh, the prime minister refused to react.

“I have no comments,” Manmohan Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function at his official residence to release commemorative coins to mark the 150th anniversary of the first freedom movement of 1857.

Gandhi forced Uttar Pradesh officials to hear out Jhansi farmers’ grievances about the lack of implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Scheme meant for the rural poor.

When officials refused to let the protesters in the local administration office, they staged a sit-in demonstration. The officials relented after about 30 minutes and allowed them in.

The farmers demanded proper allotment of work and payment under the NREGS and the officials assured them all help.

Talking to reporters later, Gandhi said it was a life-and-death situation for farmers. The NREGS, he said, must be implemented in all sincerity.

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