BSP, Cong in spat over UP bridge

State minister inaugurates project which was to be opened by Sonia later this month

The bridge, built over the Ganges, was to be inaugurated by Gandhi later this month, but Uttar Pradesh Minister for PWD Naseemuddin Siddique chose to inaugurate the same at a hurriedly convened function here on Wednesday.

The hasty inauguration by the state minister came after a delegation of the Congress MLAs from Rae Bareli met UP Governor B L Joshi on Wednesday morning and submitted a memorandum to him lodging their protest over the reported plan by the state government to inaugurate the bridge, which was built with central funds, on Thursday.

While the Congress alleged that the inauguration of the bridge by the UP minister was designed to prevent Gandhi from inaugurating the same and take the credit for the bridge, the BSP maintained that the programme was finalised long back.

Later in the day, the police in Rae Bareli prevented Union Minister of State for Surface Transport R P N Singh from proceeding towards the site of the bridge for an inspection. The police action evoked a sharp reaction from the Congress with the party workers blocking the Lucknow-Allahabad National Highway and clashing with the police.

According to the Congress sources, Gandhi was scheduled to inaugurate the bridge later this month. The Uttar Pradesh PWD had also been informed about her tentative programme. The Congress said the BSP was trying to derive political mileage over a project that had been constructed solely with the central funds. “The BSP does not believe in political decency,” the party said.

Speaking to reporters after “inaugurating” the bridge by remote control, Siddique said the bridge was inaugurated on schedule. The bridge, over Ganga in Dalmau in Rae Bareli, has been constructed at a cost of Rs 30 crore sanctioned under the Central Road Fund.

It may be mentioned here that the foundation stone for the Dalmau bridge,  was laid 34 years ago in 1976 by late Indira Gandhi but the work came to a halt after her death. The bridge connects Dalmau in Rae Bareli with Fatehpur.

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