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Seemingly unfazed at being ousted from the Asian Athletics Association, scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi on Monday said losing the presidential re-election bid to Qatar’s Dahlan Jumaan Al-Hamad has actually given him a chance to work at the “grassroots” level.
“I have no issues today and I congratulate Mr Al-Hamad for being elected as President. I am rather relieved that I will be able to work at the grassroots level in athletics,” Mr. Kalmadi said after losing the vote during the ongoing AAA Congress in Pune.

National News

Rahul Gandhi targets opposition over failure to implement MNREGA in UP

Tuesday - Feb 21, 2012, 06:38pm (GMT+5.5)
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Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) - Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday criticised the party's political rivals for making false promises to garner votes from people in  poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi told a rally here that the central government has provided national scheme for providing employment to people in need, but the Mayawati regime was not implementing those  schemes and taking away job cards.

"The federal provides the guarantee scheme of giving 100-days employment for 120 rupees per day, which is 12,000 rupees for every family. Anybody who is willing to work, needless of any  caste or religion. But Mayawatiji says that nobody will benefit from MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Act). When Mulayam Singh Yadavji's government was in  power, MNREGA was not implemented, job cards were taken away, ministers stole the money and then three-four months before the election, he assures the public of giving an allowance for  the unemployed," said Gandhi.

Gandhi said the failure of implementing MNREGA, had forced people to migrate to other states to earn their living.

"The strength that lies in Uttar Pradesh is not in any other state. The youth of the state are migrating to Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh in search of jobs. And if you  want employment, you have to migrate to other states, because employment is not available for the youth in Uttar Pradesh. Do you think this is right?" said Gandhi.

Gandhi's campaign speeches and tactics have kept him in the spotlight for a large part of the election in the state, most notably his act of tearing a list representing the promises made by the  rival Samajwadi Party.

Gandhi slammed regional Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav for failing to address the problem of electricity in the state since 22 years.

"Now, Mulayam Singh Yadav ji is saying that elect me for the fourth time and I will provide you free electricity. He was not able to provide free electricity during his three terms but now he promises to provide in his fourth term. He visited Bundelkhand and addressed a public rally and said that Bundelkhand would be made at power to Israel. When he was the chief minister, he

was unable to provide water, people were crying but you did not visit them, migration was taking place that time he did not felt that he is the chief minister, he should meet the public and talk  to them that what could be done," said Gandhi.

Hitting out at Chief Minister Mayawati, Gandhi said she has petted a magical elephant, which gulps money  belonging to the poor.

"You must have seen elephants' walking on the roads and eating grass and leaves but Mayawati ji has created a magical elephant, a pet elephant, which gulps poor people's money.

Bundelkhand faced drought but she did not notice, gathered votes but did not notice the problems, and as the centre granted 8000 crore rupees and the elephant swallowed the money  meant for people of Bundelkhand," said Gandhi.

Gandhi's campaign efforts have seen him try to convince potential voters of a stronger mandate than the one in 2007, where the Congress secured just 22 seats in a 403-strong assembly.

The son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers, Gandhi is considered likely to take over as prime minister from Singh, but the timing is not clear, as he had said earlier that  becoming prime minister did not interest him for now.

The fourth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh took place on February 19, where more than 57 per cent of the electorate exercised its franchise.

The last phase of polls is scheduled to take place on March 3 and the results will be declared on March 6.


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