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It is our Karmabhumi: Sonia

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on home turf: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi talking to journalists at the Lalganj railway station after inspecting the medical facilities of the Rajiv Gandhi Lifeline Express train in Rae Bareli on Tuesday.
on home turf: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi talking to journalists at the Lalganj railway station after inspecting the medical facilities of the Rajiv Gandhi Lifeline Express train in Rae Bareli on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

“Rail coach factory is not the only project stalled by the State government”

LALGANJ (Rae Bareli): Making it clear that the Congress would not sit idle, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday took the fight to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party camp in Uttar Pradesh. She accused the State government of creating hurdles in the development of Rae Bareli, her constituency, and declared that she was ready to go to jail if and when the party launched an agitation.

On Monday, Chief Minister Mayawati cancelled the order allotting land for a rail coach factory here, and the next day the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court directed the government not to transfer the land to the Gram Samaj or to allot pattas.

Ms. Gandhi said she would have been happy if the bhumi pujan of the factory had been performed on Tuesday, but since the matter was sub judice she would not comment on it.

Ms. Gandhi said the rail coach factory was not the only project which was stalled. There were eight other programmes for which clearance was given by the Central government but were yet to take off as obstacles were placed by the State government, Ms. Gandhi said.

These projects are the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, the National Auto Training Research Institute, an institute of medical sciences, a CRPF recruitment centre, the Hindustan Paper Mills, the Institute of Hotel Management, the National Institute of Fashion Technology and the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology.

“Rae Bareli is my home”

Talking to reporters at the Lalganj railway station, Ms. Gandhi said “Rae Bareli is my home, and how can I be stopped from coming home.” She was apparently referring to the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr. PC imposed in Rae Bareli by the district administration that led to the cancellation of her public meeting.

She said Rae Bareli and Amethi were the ‘karmabhumi’ of Feroze Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, as well as of Rahul Gandhi and herself.

Ms. Gandhi reached the railway station at around 2.45 p.m. to inspect the Lifeline Express where cataract and cleft lip operations are performed daily by a team of doctors. The Express is equipped with an operation theatre and other facilities for the patients, who are drawn mostly from the rural areas of Rae Bareli, Amethi and Sultanpur. She spent about 15 minutes in the hospital on wheels.

Earlier, Ms. Gandhi visited some patients in the temporary ward created in the Baiswara Degree College in Lalganj.

From the railway station, she stopped near the site of the proposed rail coach factory, about 5 km from Lalganj town, and talked to the villagers for a couple of minutes before returning to New Delhi en route Fursatganj.

After landing at the Fursatganj airstrip in the afternoon, Ms. Gandhi was originally scheduled to visit Lalganj by taking the Rae Bareli-Lalganj road.

However, at the last minute, the route of her convoy was changed by the district administration and she went via Dadaur, Malikmau, Sataon, Gurbakshganj and Sajauna to Lalganj. She interacted with people present along the road.

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