He was accompanied by a delegation of Congress leaders. "The delegation wanted the implementation of a Central report which had recommended a package of Rs 8,000 crore for Bundelkhand along with the creation of a separate Bundelkhand Development Authority for the development of the area," AICC General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh [ Images ] Digvijay Singh [ Images ] told mediapersons after the meeting at the residence of the PM.
Singh said that Gandhi had travelled to the Bundelkhand area situated along the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] last summer and saw the acute poverty, migration of workers and the plight of the people.
He said after the visit Gandhi met the Prime Minister which led the Centre to constitute a team to look into the issues of the area.
"The team had recommended a package of Rs 8,000 crore for the development of Bundelkhand. The delegation wanted the Centre to implement the report of the team," Singh added.
He said the delegation also wanted the creation of a separate Bundelkhand Development Authority, under the Central government, for speedy development of the region. "The PM has assured that the demands of the delegation will be looked into," Singh added.
Digvijay Singh said that as the Bundelkhand region falls in two states, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the creation of a separate authority was needed. The delegation led by Gandhi comprised MPs, MLAs and leaders from both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi [ Images ], Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain [ Images ] and PCC office-bearers from both the states were part of the delegation.
Asked whether the party wanted the creation of a separate state of Bundelkhand, Singh said the demand of the party stands but it was also important to constitute a separate authority for speedy development.
"As the issue concerns two states, we need a separate authority so that funds are channelised through it," he said.
To a query whether the party wanted to take political mileage out of it as the Centre was already in the process of giving a special package to Bundelkhand, Singh shot back, "Why not?"
He said, "The team was constituted after Rahul Gandhi initiated the issue. We have been raising it..."
The Congress leader said the Centre has increased the allocation for UP to Rs 2 lakh crore from Rs 56,000 crore sometime back but Chief Minister Mayawati [ Images ] 'was busy spending money on erecting statues and parks.' Jain, a MP from Jhansi, said speedy development of the area was the need of the hour. On the demand for creation of a separate state, Jain said senior Congress leaders will decide on the issue.