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Rae Bareli no longer in Mulayam’s ’privileged’ list?

Sunday 14 May 2006

Indo-Asian News Service

Lucknow, May 14, 2006

Stung by the humiliating defeat of the Samajwadi Party candidate in Rae Bareli by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav got down to making the electorate sweat it out — literally.

Mulayam ordered load shedding in Rae Bareli that has been exempted so far from the routine cuts enforced in most parts of the state.

The order dated May 12 superseded an earlier direction of December 11 whereby Rae Bareli and Rahul Gandhi’s neighbouring Amethi constituency were exempted from power cuts on the same lines as Saifai, the hometown of Mulayam in Etawah district.

Also exempted were the constituencies of some prominent ministers in the Mulayam cabinet as well as districts represented by allies like Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh.

While Saifai and other areas continue to enjoy the special privilege, the new order issued clearly states’ "The order regarding exemption of Rae Bareli and Amethi parliamentary constituencies from load shedding stands cancelled with immediate effect."

Even in the state capital, a three-hour load shedding was ordered.

The inclusion of Rae Bareli and Amethi in the "privileged" list was made at Mulayam’s own behest, when he addressed a public rally in Rae Bareli on December 10, 2005. In an obvious bid to win over the local electorate, the Chief Minister declared an end to the era of power cuts in the constituency, bringing cheers to the people.

He had also announced a special package of Rs 2.5 billion for the development of the district.

The Congress has said that it is now quite clear that Mulayam’s move was purely political and aimed at buying off the electorate.

"Sure enough Mulayam was being vindictive. With the people of Rae Bareli refusing to surrender to him and his party nominee Raj Kumar Chaudhary failing to even save his security deposit, he is now trying to take it out on them", state Congress spokesman Akhilesh Singh said in Lucknow.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Salman Khurshid is not surprised by the move.

"Mulayam can stoop down to any level and his action proves his antipathy towards the people of Rae Bareli and Amethi," he pointed out.

Asked to comment, a senior government official claimed, "Well, the load shedding in Rae Bareli is inevitable in the wake of the increased demand for power during the peak of summer. Some people are unnecessarily trying to attach political undertones to it."

See online : The Hindustan Times

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