In a veiled attack on the Mayawati government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that the state government has not shown adequate interest in the development of the Bundelkhand region. The PM, while addressing a Congress rally in Banda on Saturday, said that the Central and state governments must work in coordination and set aside their political differences for the development of the region that is marked by industrial and economic backwardness.
Congress MP, Rahul Gandhi, in his speech, also mounted an attack on the Mayawati government when he said, “The voice of the people of Bundelkhand is now heard in Delhi but not in Lucknow. But we will take their voice to Lucknow also and that is a promise.”
The Prime Minister, meanwhile, gave full credit for his visit to Mr Gandhi when he said that the latter had inspired him to visit Bundelkhand. Assuring Central assistance for the region, Dr Singh said that the Centre had given a three year package of `7,300 crores for Bundelkhand in 2009, of which `3500 crores was for the districts in UP and `3768 crores for those in Madhya Pradesh.
“We gave an additional sum of `3405 crores and we will give more for the development of this region,” he said. The Prime Minister announced a Central agricultural university for Jhansi and five new Kendriya Vidyalayas for the region. “The government medical college at Jhansi will soon be upgraded in order to improve primary health services. A super thermal power plant is being set up in Barethi in Madhya Pradesh and the seven Bundelkhand districts in UP will get an additional 300 MW of power,” he announced.
The Prime Minister said that development of this region had always been slow in non-Congress governments. “But I hope that UP and MP will take keen interest in helping Bundelkhand regain its lost glory,” he added.
Mr Gandhi said that he had earlier read stories about Bundelkhand and its people, particularly Rani Jhansi, in school.
“My relationship with this region began when I came and saw the ground realities. Houses were locked, fields were barren and the youth had migrated. Women had to travel miles to get a pail of water. A boy came to me here and said that his father had died of hunger. I then met the Prime Minister and informed him of the prevailing conditions. He immediately understood and promised to provide all help,” Mr Gandhi said. Asian Age