A day after Uma Bharti's candidature from Charkhari in Bundelkhand region was cleared by the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a swipe at the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister when he said that “the BJP leader” was coming to the backward region when elections were only 15 days away.

Addressing an election rally at Charkhari in Mahoba district on the third day of his campaigning in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Gandhi wanted to know where she was when the people of the backward region were crying for help. “Did she come to you? Now that the elections are 15 days away she has come to you.”

The Amethi MP first visited Bundelkhand more than three years ago. Till the entry of Ms. Bharti, who comes from the Lodh backward caste, it was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati who was on the Congress' radar in the region which accounts for 19 Assembly seats in seven districts.

The Congress general secretary said that had the BJP leaders bothered to visit Bundelkhand and seen the appalling conditions, they would have been ashamed of the party's India Shining slogan.

When he came to the region he was moved by the living conditions, particularly of the poor and the marginalised sections and the farmers.

He said a development package was approved by the Prime Minister. Huge funds were sent by the Centre for the welfare of the people of Bundelkhand, but the “money was eaten by the BSP elephant and the tractors were given to Minister's sons.”

Rally disrupted

Mr. Gandhi's subsequent rally at Baberu in Banda district was disrupted by some people — said to be supporters of Baba Ramdev — who showed him black flags. As a clash ensued between them and the Congress supporters, the Amethi MP winded up his speech in three minutes and left for the next meeting at Khurahand in the Banda Sadar Assembly constituency. That rally passed off without any untoward incident.