The gradually deteriorating relationship between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) found an expression in a spat between elected representatives of the two parties in the presence of United Progressive Alliance chairperson and local MP Sonia Gandhi during a meeting of the District Vigilance Committee in Rae Bareli on Monday.

On a day’s visit to her constituency, Ms. Gandhi chaired the District Vigilance Committee in Bachat Bhavan in Rae Bareli, attended by MLAs and MLCs of the district and senior officials. While the implementation of welfare schemes was being discussed, Congress MLC Dinesh Singh alleged bias in the selection of villages under the Ram Manohar Lohia Integrated Rural Development Scheme of the State government and reportedly passed comments on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, informed sources said. The Congress MLC alleged that Central funds had been diverted, sources added.

Manoj Pandey, Minister of State and SP MLA from Unchahar, who was present at the meeting, protested at the reference made to Mr. Yadav and told the MLC not to take names. Mr. Pandey was joined by other SPMLAs in voicing their protest. A piquant situation was created when the SP MLAs threatened to boycott the meeting if the allegations and the reference to Mr. Yadav were not withdrawn. This sparked off a verbal duel between representatives of the two parties.

Ms. Gandhi reportedly intervened to restore calm and the meeting continued.

The implementation of Central schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme were discussed at the vigilance committee meeting.

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