In a bid to score another political point over the Congress, the bridge over the river Ganga in Dalmau Ghat in UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi's parliamentary constituency, Rae Bareli, was inaugurated the second time on Thursday. As if to rub salt in the Congress' wounds, the Mayawati Government named the bridge after Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. The Rs. 31 crore bridge has been built under the Central Road Fund (CRF).
The ritual was performed by the PWD Minister, Naseemuddin Siddiqui at Dalmau even as thousands of Congressmen were arrested in Rae Bareli to pre-empt them from reaching the site for registering their protest.
The Dalmau bridge had been unveiled for the first time by the PWD Minister at an official function in Lucknow on Wednesday. Mr. Siddiqui had announced at yesterday's inaugural function that he would go to Dalmau today for redoing the ritualistic exercise.
Congress had planned to launch a massive protest on Thursday but its move was thwarted by the Rae Bareli district administration as thousands of Congressmen were prevented from proceeding towards Dalmau. About 2500 Congressmen were arrested by the police, which converted the Government Inter College in Rae Bareli into a makeshift jail.
Among those arrested were the Congress MLAs and MLCs from Rae Bareli district, KL Sharma and Manoj Muttu, the Gandhi family's representatives in Rae Bareli and Amethi ( represented in parliament by Congress General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi), the UP Congress Committee spokesperson, Akhilesh Pratap Singh and the district, city and zila panchayat party functionaries.
Congress sources said around 10,000 party workers and leaders were arrested. They said the Mayawati Government's decision had triggered of a angry reaction from the people of the constituency.
In Lucknow, the move was condemned by the UPCC president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Accusing the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati of ulterior motives, Dr. Joshi told reporters here that the Congress would not remain idle. She charged the Chief Minister with the misuse of Central funds for development.