Rahul in Amethi: Congress, BJP fight over a road (Lead)
Lucknow April 16 (IANS) A war of words broke out between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Amethi on Monday as local MP and Congress President Rahul Gandhi arrived here on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency.
Local Congress leaders alleged that Rahul Gandhi was prevented by the district administration of Amethi from inaugurating a five-km road in his constituency for which he had laid the foundation stone on January 16 this year.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the road was being built under the Prime Minister road construction scheme and hence senior party leader and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani would be throwing it open during her next visit to Amethi.
Clarifying the issue District Magistrate Shakuntala Gautam said the road was still incomplete and if the MP wanted he could certainly go and see it and review its construction.
The Rs 3.30-crore road is to link Kotwa village with Thori village here.
Irani had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election against the Gandhi scion and has been grooming the constituency for her next political outing in the 2019 general elections.
While Congressmen were quite worked up after the news spread senior district Congress leader Yogendra Mishra said the BJP was trying to slight the Congress President by spreading such rumours. Gandhi had merely gone there to review the ongoing work he added.
But his statement contradicted the programme of the Congress chief released beforehand by his representative Chandrakant Dubey in which the inauguration of the road was mentioned.
District BJP chief Uma Shanker Pandey alleged that even though the road was built under a scheme of the Prime Minister and not the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund Rahul Gandhi was trying to take credit for it and hence he raised the objection.
He however added that when the road would be inaugurated by Smriti Irani Gandhi would also be invited as the local MP.
Earlier the Congress President was received at Lucknow airport by senior party functionaries. He was greeted by a sloganeering crowd of party workers who sought his intervention alleging that the party had been sold out by middlemen.