This was Arun Jaitley's last gift to Sonia Gandhi's Rae Bareli

Published: Aug 26, 2019, 15:53 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Arun Jaitley had sent a proposal to the Rae Bareli district administration to install 200 solar-powered high-mast lights from his MPLAD funds

Arun Jaitley in a file picture from AFP
Arun Jaitley in a file picture from AFP

Lucknow: Just before a week he was hospitalised, former finance minister Arun Jaitley had given a 'gift' to Rae Bareli which is the parliamentary constituency of Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh. Jaitley had sent a proposal to the Rae Bareli district administration to install 200 solar-powered high-mast lights from his MPLAD funds.

Under MPLADS scheme, MPs can suggest to the District Collector to launch projects up to Rs 5 crore annually in their constituencies. BJP leader Hero Bajpai said, "The recommendation was submitted to the Rae Bareli district administration on August 17, days before he died." The letter by Jaitley is dated July 30, days before he was hospitalised.

Rae Bareli District Magistrate Neha Sharma confirmed that she has received the recommendation. She said, "The project would be executed in coordination with District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). The areas where high-mast lights would be installed have already been identified. We will expedite the project. It was his wish to light up Rae Bareli before Diwali."

Jaitley announced his intent to spend MPLAD funds in Rae Bareli in October 2018. The move was seen as a move to breach the Congress bastion ahead of Lok Sabha elections. What prompted Jaitley to choose Rae Bareli was the backwardness of the district, despite being represented by an influential political family.

Jaitley was also seeking to expedite the Spice Park project and wanted a stadium constructed in Rae Bareli. The Spice Park project was initiated during the Congress-led UPA regime. "Other than a concrete structure, the project did not take off. The proposal for the two projects were taken up by Jaitely but could not pick up the pace because of his ill health," said Bajpai.

Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from IANS

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