Last week, the Congress’s Lucknow MLA Rita Bahuguna Joshi visited several districts in drought-hit Bundelkhand. This January, Congress Vice-President is slated to visit the region to highlight the widespread farm distress in Uttar Pradesh. Khabar Lahariya catches up with the Lucknow MLA.
Excerpts from the interview:
You toured several districts of Bundelkhand. What is your assessment of the drought situation?
The people of Bundelkhand have been facing distress for 10 long years. I went to take a look at the current state of the Bundelkhand package offered by the Congress. There is no sign of the package and in fact it has been misused. People have not received even half of the benefits they should have. This is the reason 35 per cent of Bundelkhand’s population has migrated. People have not received even 10 per cent of work under MGNREGA scheme. The National Food Security Act came into effect on January 1, 2016, but people in Bundelkhand have received no information on it. All these are reasons for the increasing starvation and famine-like conditions.
Has Rahul Gandhi’s visit been fixed? When and where in Bundelkhand is he likely to go?
Rahul Gandhi will visit in January but I am not sure of the dates. He will certainly tour Bundelkhand. Earlier in 2008, he visited the region which is how the Bundelkhand package was given.
Is the drought and farm distress going to be an election agenda for Congress in the 2017 UP elections?
Our campaign has no agenda so far. The elections are quite distant now. Right now we want to focus on the facilitation of the drought relief. People might think that this is an election ploy but that are wrong.
What is your view on the current UP government?
SP and BSP have always been obstacles on the path to progress. They have always portrayed Congress’ work poorly. But in 2017, SP is going to vanish completely and so will BSP. In 2017, congress will come forth and nobody is going to want these two parties in power. Both parties have split UP on communal lines. Unless communalism and casteism is uprooted, UP will also have problems.