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Rahul begs to differ: Beggars from UP a ‘bitter reality’

Rahul says condition of UP people will change only if the Congress is voted to power.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Bahraich |
November 23, 2011 3:22:08 am

Starting his mass contact programme in Uttar Pradesh,AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said his statement about people from the state begging in Maharashtra and Delhi due to lack of development is a “bitter reality”,which will change only if the Congress is voted to power.

Addressing a public meeting at Ramnagar in Barabanki district,Rahul said,“Some leaders go to television studios in Delhi and criticise my statement,but it is bitter reality. They do not pull down the windows of their cars to talk to beggars but I do. When I ask these beggars where they come from,they mostly tell me that they come from UP.”

Rahul said taxi drivers in Maharashtra come from UP because governments in the past 20 years had failed to bring industrialisation,employment,better roads,electricity or water to the state.

He repeated the statement at other meetings. “You are bringing development to other states. Your people work in Delhi during construction of roads and Metro,your people run taxies in Maharashtra but now time has come to bring about a change in UP.”

In all four public meetings,and a workers’ meeting in Barabanki and Bahraich districts on the first day of his five-day tour,Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma introduced Rahul as the “future PM of the country”.

Rahul had made the controversial statement on begging at Phoolpur on November 14. Asking people to bring about a change in UP,he had rhetorically asked,“How long will you keep begging in Maharashtra? How long will you keep working as labourers in Punjab?”

On Tuesday,Rahul said: “When one talks of development,one talks of Haryana and Punjab. When one talks of IT,Bangalore and Hyderabad have the monopoly. Automobile industry goes to Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Nothing comes here. Congress has brought development and progress in other states,but UP is lagging behind. We will bring about a change in UP with you. We will take UP to the top in five years’’.

He said the Centre had brought schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS),National Rural Health Mission,Janani Suraksha Yojana,Education for All,and recently a loan waiver for farmers and a package for weavers. “We have re-designed the weavers’ package following suggestions from you. Now,instead of going to the societies,the benefits of the package will directly reach you,” Rahul said at Kaiserganj in Bahraich district.

Targeting the BSP,BJP and SP governments that have ruled the state over the last two decades,he said,“Let me tell you that they will go on doing what they have done in the past 20 years. They will only talk of caste and religion.”

Scuffle between Punia,Beni supporters

A few minutes before Rahul Gandhi’s arrival in Barabanki,supporters of Congress leaders P L Punia and Beni Prasad Verma entered into a scuffle over sloganeering. When supporters of Verma were shouting slogans in support of his son,Rakesh Verma,who has got party ticket from Dariyabad assembly constituency,some of Punia’s supporters asked them to lower their pitch. A heated argument followed,which turned violent,and was controlled with the intervention of party leaders. ENS

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