M A I N   N E W S

Sonia asks partymen to gear up for UP poll
Tribune News Service & PTI

Rae Bareli, June 18
Congress President Sonia Gandhi virtually swung into election mode today, urging party workers in her constituency to replicate her record win and wipe out opponents.

Addressing a meeting of booth workers from all five Assembly segments of the parliamentary constituency at the Feroze Gandhi College this morning, she said, “I am sure that if you take a resolve, the Congress will be successful not only in Uttar Pradesh, but the entire country. Whenever elections will be held, the opponents will be wiped out.”

Asking party workers to be fully prepared to face the challenge of Vidhan Sabha elections, Ms Gandhi urged them to launch a mass contact programme in all Assembly segments of Rae Bareli.

“Only the political party which is able to take voters to polling booths tastes success in elections and we have to ensure just that,” said Ms Gandhi, praising party workers for their excellent work during her election campaign and urging them to repeat the feat.

Once again targeting the state government for creating obstacles in the path of development of her constituency, Ms Gandhi said she was trying her best to overcome them and had taken several steps for the development of Rae Bareli on her own.

Urging party workers to expose the failures of the state government, Ms Gandhi said she was fully committed to the development of the constituency.

On the concluding day of her two-day thanksgiving visit to her constituency after her victory last month, Ms Gandhi made a whirlwind tour of each of the five Assembly segments.

She addressed a string of meetings, thanking her workers and asking them to gear up for the Assembly elections ahead.

Taking a potshot at Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his aide Amar Singh, she said without naming either, “Assembly elections are round the corner in Uttar Pradesh. These elections will decide who will prevail — the rule of law or the whims of two or three people who indulge in communal and casteist politics.”

Pointing out that the situation in the state had gone from bad to worse in the past between 10 and 15 years, Ms Gandhi said, “The situation in Uttar Pradesh is well known to you.”

She said the people would have to decide whether they wanted a government that believed in caste and religious politics or an administration that could ensure progress.

Charging the Samajwadi Party government with creating obstacles in the development of Rae Bareli, she said she had taken several steps in this direction despite this.

Ms Gandhi, who was accompanied by her son Rahul, was flooded with complaints about the lack of drinking water, roads and irrigation facilities, as well as persecution by the police.

She said she was aware of such problems and assured people that she would do whatever was possible to address these.


Corpn blames Centre for Rae Bareli’s power crisis
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, June 18
If Rae Bareli is not getting enough power, it is the fault of the Centre and not because it is being given stepmotherly treatment by the state government, clarified the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) today.

Putting the ball back in the Centre’s court, UPPCL Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) Ashok Khurana charged the Power Grid Corporation of failing to start work on a 220-kva power substation, that would had increased the power carrying capacity of Rae Bareli.

The explanation came at a hurriedly called press conference a day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi charged the state government with punishing her electorate by denying them electricity after her landslide victory last month.

He claimed that the policy of the state government provided for 24-hour power supply to any district facing an extraordinary situation, be it Rae Bareli or any other district during elections, Aligarh under curfew or Meerut in the aftermath of the fire disaster.

As such, Rae Bareli was put off the non-rostering VIP list after the election process came to an end. Since then, it was following the rostering pattern of any other district town, that is, 16 hours for urban areas and 14 hours for rural areas, informed Mr Khurana.

In this case, on special orders of the Chief Minister, Rae Bareli had been once again put on the VIP non-rostering list and was being given 24-hour power supply since June 15, claimed Mr Khurana.

This decision came following the visit of Central Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on June 14, in which he visited Rae Bareli and held meetings with power officials.

During the meeting, Mr Shinde requested the officials to restore the non-rostering status of Rae Bareli, a request that was conceded to by the Chief Minister as soon it was presented before him, claimed the CMD.

According to Mr Khurana, “We are providing power supply on a 24-hour basis, but the Power Grid Corporation has not started work on the power substation, following which people are not getting power supply”.

Refusing to admit any politics in the issue, Mr Khurana declared that without proper carrying capacity, the end user anywhere could not receive power even if full capacity was being supplied.

Explaining the position in Rae Bareli, he said the district could not receive the required 440 kva of power being supplied as it needed a 220-kva station.

“We wanted to set up a 220-kva substation in Rae Bareli and had procured land for it. In October 2005, we handed over the land to the Power Grid Corporation after it expressed the desire to set it up itself”, he said.

Accusing the Power Grid Corporation of not commencing work during the eight months that had since lapsed, Mr Khurana said this point had emerged during the recent meeting with the Power Minister, in which Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Power Grid Corporation R.P. Singh said work would be completed in Rae Bareli latest by January 15 next.

The upgradation plan was ready and would be implemented in phases in the next five years, said Mr Khurana.


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