Sonia blames Mayawati for swindling of NHRM funds

In a frontal attack on Uttar Pradesh's ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday pointedly blamed the state government for swindling Rs.9,000 crore earmarked for the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in India's most populous state.

Addressing an election rally in this western Uttar Pradesh city, Gandhi said: "We had given UP a huge sum of Rs.9,000 crore for improvement of health services for the poor and under-privileged across the vast rural expanse of the state, but the funds were pilfered by the BSP government, that was now trying to shield the culprits."

While the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was currently investigating the NRHM scam, the Congress chief alleged that the "same story was repeated with MNREGA (rural jobs scheme) funds too and the culprits were allowed to get away with murder". 

"I am aware that the people of UP are angry with this party as well with other parties like Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the time has come to treach them all a lesson," she said.

Stressing the Congress is not like other parties who believe in making all kinds of promises, Gandhi said the "believe in doing sincere work".

Highlighting how the state had suffered during the past 22 years of non-Congress rule, she said that very person wants development and upliftment of the weaker sections, who have been betrayed for the past 22 years. 

"The state has suffered badly during the past two decades when it was ruled by SP, BSP and BJP," she said. 

"What did you get here in the past 22 years? Did you get proper electricity and water? Do you have proper roads here? Are your children able to get proper education? Are fertilisers and seeds available for farmers? Has any new industry come up in UP? How many youth in the state are able to get a job here? Are you happy with the law and order situation in UP?" she asked the gathering, which responded with a loud "no".

Claiming that the Congress alone believed in fighting corruption, she accused the Mayawati regime of being “synonymous with corruption".

Focusing on the local issues of Saharanpur, widely known for its wood carving cottage industry, Gandhi said that apart from various other issues, the party also understood the problems being faced by them local artisans and manufacturers. 

"Let me assure you that your problems will be solved once a Congress government is in place here,” she said, adding she sought their support to accomplish the Congress' mission to change the state of affairs not only in and around this place but in entire Uttar Pradesh.

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