"Funds given to the State about six times more than earlier"
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh kicked off his election campaign in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls by launching a frontal attack on the Bahujan Samaj Party Government for not cooperating with the Congress-led UPA government in its efforts to bring the State back on the path of development and progress.
Dr. Singh said: “The allocation of Central funds to the State was five and six times more than that given earlier and despite the State government's non-cooperation [asahyog] there has been no lacking in the Centre's efforts to make Uttar Pradesh progress.”
The Prime Minister blamed the non-Congress governments for the State's backwardness in the last 22 years and accused them of misgovernance and overlooking the common man's problems. He was particularly severe in his condemnation of the Mayawati government.
Reading out the development mantra and seeking votes for the party candidates in the name of Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi, and urging voters to strengthen the hands of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister said Uttar Pradesh could progress only when there was a Congress government at the helm.
Dr. Singh said Rs.9,500 crore was allotted to the State under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Rs.24,000 crore for building highways and roads and Rs.1,685 crore for the rail coach factory in Rae Bareli and a special Rs. 1,700-crore package for Bundelkhand.
Regretting that the Bundelkhand package had not been properly implemented, the Prime Minister said he had received reports of irregularities in the implementation of the package meant to provide drinking water, irrigation facilities to the farmers and improving the dairy sector. “The fertilizer crisis was the outcome of the bad system of deliverance of the State government.” He accused the BSP government of misusing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
“Benefits not reaching people”
Addressing his first election meeting in the State at Moti Jheel here, the Prime Minister said the benefits of the Central schemes had not accrued to the people even as he repeatedly charged the BSP government with non-cooperation and corruption. He mentioned the measures taken by the UPA government to improve the socio-economic conditions of the weaker sections, particularly, the minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.
Dr. Singh said that in the last 22 years, Uttar Pradesh had become “a very backward State.” “Kanpur, which was known as the Manchester of India was today in the throes of industrial sickness with its industrial units lying closed. Joblessness has increased in the State, the condition of roads, availability of water and power supply position is pathetic, the education level has slipped and the law and order situation is bad.”
“Change the situation”
The Prime Minister stressed on the need to change the situation, which could be possible by working “above caste lines” for “creating jobs and improving health and education facilities.”
AICC general secretary in charge of U.P., Digvijay Singh, accused the BSP government of misusing Central funds. Attacking senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on the issue of black money, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said he did not act against black money when he was the Deputy Prime Minister in the NDA government but raised the issue after the NDA lost power.
Stating that the U.P. voters wanted change, Mr. Digvijay Singh claimed that the Congress would form a government on its own. While the BJP was out of the race, the people wanted to replace the BSP government, he added.
Union Coal Minister and the local MP, Sriprakash Jaiswal, said corruption and backwardness had increased in the last 22 years.
Elections in Kanpur district will be held on February 23.