Rahul Gandhi says Joshi's remarks against Mayawati unfortunate, but Mayawati also at fault

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Amethi (Uttar Pradesh), July 17 (ANI): Congress party general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday told reporters at a impromptu press conference here that remarks made by Uttar Pradesh Congress unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi against state Chief Minister Mayawati were unfortunate, but at the same time understandable because of the lack of development in the state.

"The words uttered by Mrs.Joshi are unfortunate, but the UP Government's action against her (Joshi) is also unfortunate. The Congress president and the Congress party have made it clear that the statements made by Mrs Bahuguna are unfortunate. But we are also clear that the government in Uttar Pradesh is not working for the people's welfare, or their development. It is busy building statues," said Gandhi.

He further added that "Building statues should not be the priority of the (state) government. It is not about a Dalit agenda. My agenda is focussed on the poor and their upliftment. If you work, you will not suffer."

Earlier in the day, he said that Mayawati has time for statues, but not for governance

Gandhi accused Mayawati of misusing government funds for only statues and elephants but not for the issues related to development of the state.

Addressing Congress workers here, Gandhi said: "Mayawati only has time to erect statues and nothing else. She has all the time for statues, but not time for governance or development of UP. Mayawati uses the development fund for statues, when she should be focusing on helping the state progress."

Gandhi did not comment on Uttar Pradesh Congress unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's offensive remarks on Mayawati, but said: "The Uttar Pradesh Government lacks in basic development programmes."

Speaking on the shortage of power supply in his constituency, he said, "If you want power you should have a Congress Government in Lucknow. In three years, you have to form a Congress Government in Lucknow. Then, I will be able to respond to questions on power."

Gandhi's comments came even as a local court in Moradabad on Friday reserved its order after an in-camera hearing on the bail application of Joshi.

The order was reserved by Additional District Judge (II) Sudha Sharma.

Earlier in the day, district court postponed the hearing of Joshi"s bail plea after lawyers went on a strike.

Joshi, 60, had approached the court after Chief Judicial Magistrate K K Shrivastava had turned down her bail plea and remanded her to judicial custody for 14 days in Moradabad.

Police arrested Joshi on Thursday and a local court had sent her to judicial remand for making remarks on Wednesday against Mayawati in an issue related to the rape and murder of some Dalit girls in Uttar Pradesh.

She was charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Mayawati.

Joshi, however, has denied having said anything to offend Mayawati or Dalits.

Mayawati on Friday continued her vitriolic and belligerent attack on Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the latter"""s silence on Joshi"""s offensive remarks against her.

Addressing a press conference at the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) headquarters here, Mayawati lashed out at Gandhi for not doing much about the issue, and for not taking any action against Joshi so far.

She also said that her party would not disrupt proceeding the Parliament over this issue, and that Parliament would function normally, especially after it witnessed an uproar over the Joshi issue yesterday. She said Joshi"""s remarks could never be forgiven.

Reacting to Mayawati"""s statement, the Congress said no further action is required against Joshi.

It said Joshi had apologized for her remarks against Mayawati.(ANI)

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