Mayawati neglecting Bundelkhand: PM, Rahul

Banda (Uttar Pradesh), April 30: Attacking Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bahujan Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), top Congress leaders Saturday blamed the Mayawati government for the prevailing backwardness and poverty in Bundelkhand region.

A joint rally of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – his first in the region – and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi drew massive crowds, who applauded both leaders as they reiterated their committment to allocate a special package of Rs.7,300 crore for taking up various developmental programmes for the transformation of the backward region.

Since part of the Bundelkhand region is in adjoining Madhya Pradesh state, the prime minister called upon the governments of both states to rise above all political differences and join hands with the central government in the larger interest of the people of this entire region.

“In order to ensure a well co-ordinated and comprehensive development of the area, we have constituted a special advisory committee under the Planning Commission with all MPs from entire Bundelkhand as its members. It will hold their first meeting May 20,” the prime minister said.

Narrating his personal experiences of the extent of poverty while travelling in the region, Gandhi stressed the need for implementation of the people’s right to food.

“The only way to prevent hunger deaths in this poverty-ridden area could be by giving people the Right to Food,” Gandhi said, confessing how embarrassed he felt on learning from a local villager that his father died of hunger.

He said the central government was more concerned about the plight of the people of Bundelkhand than the state government in Lucknow.

“Lucknow is only 200 km from Banda and Delhi is 455 km away, yet the pain of the people of this region has been felt by those sitting in Delhi alone, and not in Lucknow,” said Gandhi.