Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Continuing its attack on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, the Congress on Tuesday said the decision to cancel permission for a rally by Congress president Sonia Gandhi at Rae Bareily is the “height of political arrogance” and accused the Chief Minister of being “power drunk.”

Party leader M. Veerappa Moily said the action by the U.P. authorities to cancel allotment of land to the railway project was an “assault on cooperative federalism” while the decision to deny permission for a political rally showed how both bureaucracy and magistracy in the State were being politicised.

Mr. Moily, a former Chief Minister of Karnataka, said that instead of standing up to dictates of political leaders, the bureaucracy had “compromised.” He said the Congress would not like to equate its leader Sonia Gandhi to Ms. Mayawati.

He said Ms. Gandhi had renounced power and exhibited a spirit of sacrifice by not taking up the post of Prime Minister while Ms. Mayawati was hankering after power.

“Totally erroneous”

Another party spokesperson Mohan Prakash said the effort to project the current standoff as one between Ms. Gandhi and Ms. Mayawati was totally erroneous. The government’s decision was to cancel a project of the Railways and not some venture of the Congress president.

He claimed that the land cancelled was not cultivable and never used for farming. On the contrary, he said, the government was acquiring fertile farmland much in excess of the requirement of 15,000 hectares for the Ganga Expressway project.