Book issue: Cong says suspension of IAS shows Maya's ''frustration''

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Lucknow, Jan 31 (UNI) The ongoing political battle between the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress today took an ''ugly'' turn after the Mayawati government suspended four officials, including two senior IAS officers, for their alleged role in publishing a book highlighting the Gandhi clan in the development of Sultanpur district.

The Congress was quick to hit back by claiming that the Chief Minister had failed to ''digest'' the role of Congress leaders in the development of the state.

The UP government today suspended four officials, including two senior bureaucrats, for their role in publishing a souvenir, which projected the role of Congress and the Gandhi clan in the development of Sultanpur district.

An official release issued here, however, did not name either the Congress or the Gandhi family.

The IAS officers suspended included Faizabad Divisional Commissioner Venkeshwara Lo and Sultanpur District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar. The two had issued signed messages for the book 'Sultanpur: Kal aur Aaj' (Sultanpur: yesterday and today).

The others suspended were Assistant Director of Information Pramod Kumar Singh and then Chief Development Officer (currently posted as Special Secretary Social Welfare) Ishtdev Prasad Rai.

The release said the book, authored by Regional Publicity Officer Dr Srikant Srivastava, highlights the role of a particular political party and the family leading the party.

Meanwhile, UP Congress chief spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh claimed while the Mayawati government had failed to ''digest'' the role of Congress leaders in the development of UP, it suspended the four officials out of ''frustration''.

'' How can anyone refute the contributions of the Gandhi family and the Congress in the development of not only Sultanpur or UP but the entire country,'' he asked.

Sultanpur had been the political 'karma bhoomi' of the Gandhi family with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi representing Amethi (a part of the district) in the Lok Sabha. The official release maintained that the book, ignored the efforts of the BSP government in the development work of the district.

The Divisional Commissioner was quoted as writing in his message that the book was ''an important piece of work and the people will get to know the history and culture of the district.'' The DM, Sultanpur, on the other hand, had claimed that the book was being published by collecting information through various means,'' the release added.

The government also claimed that the book was published and distributed in the district by the particular political party.

''By helping in the publication of the book, the officials have been prima facie found guilty of violating the service rules,'' the release added.

The action against the four officials came after senior government officials informed Ms Mayawati about the contents of the book.

UNI NAB/MB HS KP2119

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