Microsoft Corporation Chairman, Bill Gates, who is the co-chairperson of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Tuesday accompanied Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on a visit to the Amethi parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh and gained valuable insight into the welfare schemes being undertaken there. Mr. Gates said he would try to develop Amethi into an information technology hub.

Mr. Gandhi's proposed visit to his constituency for paying condolences to the bereaved family members of a Congress worker, Mayankesh Shukla alias Rajjan Shukla, who was killed last month and review the development works was in the air. But, Mr. Gates' visit was kept strictly under wraps and it was on Tuesday that the people of Amethi came to know about the surprise guest.

Security arrangements were exceptionally tight and the media personnel and the local Congressmen were kept at a safe distance from the MP and his guest. Mr. Gates was accompanied by officials of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Congress sources said due to security concerns the detailing of the high-profile visit was “unscheduled.”

After landing at the Fursatganj airstrip in Rae Bareli by a chartered plane, the Microsoft chairman and the Amethi MP drove straight to Bahadurpur village in Jais town, which is in Rae Bareli district but falls in the Amethi constituency.

Addressing a meeting of women self help groups (SHGs) under the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana, Mr. Gates stressed the importance of computer education in this age of internet and said that he would do his best to develop Amethi as an IT hub. Both Mr. Gates and Mr. Gandhi interacted with the women members, who apprised them of the work done by the SHGs. The women's training centre in Bahadurpur village is being managed by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.

According to Congress sources, the meeting-cum-interaction at the training centre in Bahadurpur lasted about an hour after which they went to Munshiganj where Mr. Gates accompanied Mr. Gandhi on a visit to the Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital. After a quick lunch at the Munshiganj Guest House, Mr. Gates paid a visit to an eye treatment camp in Shahgarh block in the Gauriganj Assembly segment of Amethi where he spent about an hour, the sources said.

UPCC spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said Mr. Gates was taken to Chhatarpur village in in Sandwan-Chandukar block in the neighbouring Pratapgarh district for getting an insight into the development schemes. This village does not come under Amethi constituency, the spokesman said.