Sonia takes on BSP government in Uttar Pradesh

March 31st, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Kanpur, March 31 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched a broadside against Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Monday and brought son Rahul into the picture too as she exhorted her party to launch an agitation and said he too would go to jail if required. Addressing a rally here, Gandhi held the BSP responsible for the alleged plight of Dalits and backward classes in the state and accused it of corruption.

“The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given millions and millions of rupees as funds to the Uttar Pradesh government but not enough has been done for the people. It is time to ask the Uttar Pradesh government to give an account of where this money was spent,” she said at the concluding session of the two-day Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee convention here.

“The Congress should start an agitation against the state government and be prepared to go to jail if required. If need be, Rahulji will go to jail with you,” the Congress chief said.

Gandhi specifically mentioned how Rahul Gandhi, who represents Amethi in parliament, kept telling her that a lot of people had taken fake membership of the party.

“We should get more and more active people into the party fold,” she added.

Rahul Gandhi had addressed the gathering earlier.

“In Etawah (during his visit to the district on March 15), Dalits told me that (former prime minister) Indira Gandhi used to think about them, (BSP leader) Kanshi Ram used to think about them but today they have been betrayed. There is no one to look after their interests,” he said.

He said the Mayawati government had also ignored the interests of the backward classes in the state. This was a reiteration of his comments during his visit to Bundelkhand in January that only five percent of the funds meant for the poor and backward were going to the intended beneficiaries.

The MP has been trying to woo the Dalit vote much to Mayawati’s discomfiture. In January, he spent a night in a Dalit household in Amethi.

In March, he visited Etawah’s Aminabad area where six members of a Dalit family were killed by dacoits.

This has been a matter of much concern to the BSP for which the Dalits are core vote bank. Mayawati tried to beat him at this wooing game and planned a quick visit to Etawah ahead of Rahul Gandhi when she came to know he was visiting the affected families.

Neither mother nor son said anything about the Samajwadi Party. There are growing signs that the two parties might come closer.

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