Rahul, Akhilesh spar over development

In a sign that relations between the Congress and the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP are running into rough weathers ahead of the 2014 general elections, the scions of the first families had a verbal exchange on development works in the state.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who were involved in bitter exchanges while campaigning for last year’s Assembly polls, showed signs of getting back at each other again as they spoke on the state’s failings in development.

On Friday, Akhilesh virtually accused the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for
“discriminating” against UP in developmental activities.
Rahul, who was on a two-day visit to his constituency of Amethi, accused the SP government of “not taking interest in the development of UP”.

“I am aware of your (people’s) problems...UP has not developed the way it should have....there is no employment here,” he said in his interaction with the people.
Akhilesh, in a quick rebuttal, reiterated that his government is doing everything possible to steer the state towards the developmental path.

“We have provided land for AIIMS in Raebareli free of cost to the centre...but UP needs more than one AIIMS'', he said.

The chief minister also charged the centre with discrimination against UP.

“The NHAI is constructing four-lane highway to Raebareli from Lucknow....it should have been extended up to Allahabad...this is injustice to UP,” he said. Raebareli is the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The veiled exchanges come two days after SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remarks that the UPA will not fall even if the SP were to withdraw its outside support.  

In other signs of souring relationship between the parties, Congress sources here say that its leaders have been asked by the high command not to spare the state government for anything it may have done wrong.

Congress leaders in the state have indeed stepped up attack against the Akhilesh government in recent times.

Rahul and Akhilesh, who ran their party’s election campaigns in the state last year, were engaged in verbal duels from which Akhilesh had emerged as a clear winner with the SP’s thumping victory.

As Lok Sabha polls draw closer, the sparring is showing signs of getting intense again.

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