House clears Rahul's pet project for Bundelkhand

Ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Congress-led UPA government on Thursday managed to secure Parliament’s nod for yet another pet-project of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University Bill 2012, which sought to set up an agriculture university in Bundelkhand–a region that comprises seven districts of Uttar Pradesh and six of Madhya Pradesh.  As the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on Wednesday, the Lok Sabha nod took the Rs 497 crore project a step closer to reality.

The varsity is one of the projects Rahul had promised in 2009 to turn around the Congress’ fortune in Uttar Pradesh, particularly in the seven districts of Bundelkhand.
The Bill was passed amid din with minimum discussion over it as JD-U members were shouting slogans demanding special status to Bihar.

The SP supported the Bill, along with the main opposition party the BJP. Speaking on the Bill in the Lok Sabha, SP MP Shailendra Singh lauded the Centre’s move to set up the varsity in a region that was extremely backward.

Arjun Ram Meghwal of the BJP and Sougata Roy of the TMC, too, supported the Bill.
The proposed university will be headquartered in Jhansi, the main town in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, where two of its colleges will be set up initially.
Two more colleges will be subsequently set up in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh had argued that the varsity should be headquartered at Chhatarpur in the state as it is located at the centre of the Bundelkhand region.

The Centre had brushed aside Madhya Pradesh’s argument and its offer to provide land for the varsity at Chhatarpur. The Union government had also ignored the recommendation of the Parliamentary standing committee to set up the headquarters at Chhatarpur.

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