Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday blamed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for the sorry plight of women in the state.
"Even though this state is ruled by a woman chief minister, there is no one to hear the voice of women," Gandhi said, addressing a pubic rally in this Uttar Pradesh district where polling is due Feb 15 in the third phase of the seven-phase assembly election. "With a view to ensuring participation of women right down to the grassroots level, the Congress made it a point to give reservation to women in panchayats, but that is not being implemented in the true spirit in this state," he alleged.
Citing a examples of injustice to women in the state, Gandhi said: "I was told by an old woman how her agricultural land was forcibly acquired for some builders. When the builder demanded immediate vacation of the plot, the woman complained to the local police station but to no avail.
"Police not only refused to intervene but even went to the extent of setting fire to the standing crop on the poor woman's land," he alleged. Stressing he was not here to make promises like other political parties, he said: "When one has clear intentions, he need not make promises. I have not come here to make promises but to take UP on the path for change and I am sure that we will win this battle."
"Ask Mayawati and (Samajwadi Party chief) Mulayam Singh Yadav whether they cared to visit any village in the last five years, but when they go about addressing election rallies, they were busy making tall promises," he said, adding he wondered why they had not done so when in power.
Flaying successive non-Congress governments in Uttar Pradish where Congress had been out of power for 22 years, Gandhi asserted he was committed to the cause of Uttar Pradesh's development. "And I will not budge from here. Let me tell you that when I choose to take up something, I do not leave it halfway," he said.
"Even if only one person from UP stands by me, I will continue to fight for you because you have been duped for 22 years," Gandhi said. He blamed the BSP, the Samajwadi Party as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for neglecting the state for "not doing anything to build the future of the state's youth".
He also accused all the three parties for fuelling corruption in the state and pilfering funds sent by the central government for various development tasks. Gandhi later addressed another meeting in Zafrabad town of Jaunpur, followed by one in Kaushambhi and two meetings in Allahabad.