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'Power politics' hots up between Sonia-Mulayam

Written by: Staff

Gurubakshganj (UP), June 17: Congress president Sonia Gandhi today complained of poor power supply in her Rae Bareli constituency after her landslide victory in the May 8 Lok Sabha byelection, intensifying a tussle between the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government.

''Mere chunav se pahle to yahan 24 ghante bijli aati thi, lekin chunav ke baad nahi aati hai (Electricty was available 24 hrs here before my election, but now the constituency is starved of power),'' she told reporters in a brief chat during her thanksgiving two-day mass-contact programme.

The statement is bound to cause discomfort to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Ms Gandhi said many people had complained of erratic power supply.

Most of her electorate, she met during thanksgiving, complained to her they were not getting enough power after the bypoll.

Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency, which was getting 24 hours electricity in power-starved UP, was delisted by the state government from the list of districts receiving electricity round the clock. The order for delisting was issued by the UP government on May 15.

Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had visited her constituency only three days ago and was not satisfied with the power supply in the constituency. In fact, he had asked the UP Congress Committee to make a report and send it to him.

The Union Minister held a meeting with power officials to apprise himself of the status of power supply in the 'VIP' constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi.

Ms Gandhi was accompanied by her son and MP from Amethi Rahul Gandhi, who was spotted sitting in a Safari and reading a book on Afghanistan, during his mother's mass-contact programme.

When a channel reporter asked if Rahul would be given any responsibility to strengthen UP Congress in view of the 2007 assembly polls, Ms Gandhi replied, ''Rahul is sitting in the car, go and ask him.'' Earlier, she was accorded a warm welcome on her arrival here this afternoon via Lucknow.


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