Accusing the government of indulging in politics of vendetta, Congress on Thursday said central projects in Rae Bareli and Amethi, Lok Sabha constituencies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi respectively, were being closed down.
The charge was squarely rejected by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu in the Rajya Sabha.
Congress had won these two seats in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP and its alliance partner had won 73 of the 80 seats in the state.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Pramod Tiwari (Cong) said a branch of Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Information in Amethi has been closed down.
He further said that during the last two years, a food park project was stopped, Hindustan Paper Mill in Jagdishpur closed down as also a Discovery Park meant for farmers.
“This is the worst form of politics. By shutting down projects in the constituency of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi, you are taking revenge against people who elected them,” Tiwari said.
He also alleged that as BJP was talking of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ (Congress free India), it was also trying to close down institutions in the names of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
“You may try hard, but you cannot remove references to their sacrifices from history. When history will be read, you will appear as the villain,” he added.
Supporting him, Rajeev Shukla (Cong), in an apparent reference to the electoral loss of Smriti Irani against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, said it has been observed that this government was working with “a sense of revenge”.
In a jibe at the ruling party, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said “in last two years, if so many central projects were closed down in the constituency of Congress President and Vice President, it forces us to think what is the reason.”
Quoting an old proverb, he said “even witches spare some homes” and added that there could be political differences between the two parties, “but no one should act with vendetta against the people.”
Responding to the Congress charges, Naidu said the government was not trying to take any revenge. “I can assure the House that there is no question of taking revenge.”
He said the food park project was closed during UPA rule. Regarding other projects, Naidu said he would bring it to the notice of ministers concerned and “will ask them to explain to you the reasons and the background”.