Lucknow, Oct 18: Taking a U-turn from her earlier stand UP Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday, Oct 18 returned 189.25 hectare land to Centre for the Rae Bareli rail coach factory. The decision was taken at UP cabinet's meet after the government drew flak for putting politics ahead of development and for targeting Sonia Gandhi in particular.
Wanting to come out clean, UP Chief Minister questioned, "The Centre had acquired 940 acres of land in the month of September, then why did they want additional 189.50 hectare land of UP government. They could have held a bhoomi pujan on that land and started work on the rail coach factory. But they didn't which means it was a political gimmick in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections."
While speaking to media here Mayawati clarified, "Taking note of the matter UP Cabinet held a meeting on Saturday, Oct 18 and decided to allot UP govt's 189.25 hectare land to Railway Ministry on lease for 90 years. Since only Cabinet has the power to transfer the land under UP govt's ownership."
"We had cancelled the allotment of land after District Magistrate's report had said that the villagers are angry over the allotment of land. But keeping in mind the poverty and unemployment in the district I have written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as to the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi asking for a special package of Rs 5,000 cr for the industries in Rae Bareli and Amethi districts," Mayawati defended.
Reacting to UP Cabinet's decision to return the land, Congress called it a decision taken under public pressure.
Earlier, Mayawati had cancelled the land transfer to Railway Ministry to set up a Rail Coach factory just a day before UPA chairperson was scheduled to hold a bhoomi pujan in her own constituency, Rae Bareli. She also refused to allow Sonia Gandhi to hold a rally citing security reasons.
However the Congress leader refused to be cowed down and challenged the UP government to dare stop her as she was even 'willing to go to jail' for Rae Bareli, which she considered her Karmabhoomi.