Rahul to visit Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh

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Lucknow, Jan 15: A week after seeking a distress package from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for Bundelkhand, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will address a public meeting in the drought-hit region of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

The Amethi MP will attend the second meeting of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Coordination Committee set up by Congress president Sonia Gandhi late last year. He had attended the first meeting here in November.

After attending the meeting, Rahul will address a public meeting in Jhansi. ''The issue of continuous drought in the Bundelkhand region and the need for a separate Bunderlkhand state for better and speedy development are likely to remain the high point of the Coordination Committee meeting and Rahul's public address,'' said a senior state unit functionary here.

Last week, Congress leaders from Uttar Pradesh had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek reconstitution of the second State Reorganisation Commission. ''We want a separate Bundelkhand state as the region cannot get its due share as part of a bigger UP,'' said a leader.

Even as the state Congress has focussed its attention on Bundelkhand, the Mayawati government too have initiated moves to pull out the drought-hit region out of trouble.

The Congress had been fast to take credit of the state government's initiative on Bundelkhand. ''Rahul's efforts to help the people there are solely responsible for the state government's announcement to end the sufferings of the people,'' said UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

Recently, the Chief Minister had issued as many as seven orders on a single day and released Rs 70 crore for drinking water schemes and announced 20-hour power supply for Bundelkhand.

In December last year the state government had set up a panel headed by Principal Secretary Neeta Chowdhary to prepare a status report on Bundelkhand. The panel submitted its report on December 27, following which the governnment announced its special package.

Ms Mayawati had directed the officials to ensure the distribution of food grains from the PDS shops, particularly to families in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category, and ordered effective implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in primary schools of the region. She had also ordered that Chief Secretary P K Mishra would personally monitor the implementation of various schemes and visit Bundelkhand once every 10 days.

Last week, Rahul, along with fellow AICC general Secretary Digvijay Singh -- who is in charge of Uttar Pradesh affairs -- had met the Prime Minister and sought a special 'distress' package for the region on the lines of the one granted to farmers of Vidarbha.


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