Gorakhpur: Amid growing controversy over reports of misuse of crores of rupees meant for the National Rural Health Mission in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday lashed out at the Mayawati regime, saying any other government would have stepped down in such a situation.

 "It is an open fact that there have been irregularities. If such a thing would have happened in Maharashtra or Delhi or Haryana or Punjab, the government there would have resigned the same day," he said.

"The Centre provides funds worth thousands of crores of rupees for medical facilities to the rural poor under NRHM but the money has been misused by the state government," he alleged, accusing the BSP government of overlooking the rights of farmers and rural people.

The Congress leader is on a two-day visit to eastern UP to widen the party's base among youths and to galvanise people's support for the state Assembly elections to be held early next year.

Gandhi said the BSP regime had proved itself to be "the most corrupt government ever" indulging in "politics of loot".

Rubbishing the charges as totally baseless and politically motivated, a BSP spokesman dubbed these as irresponsible statements made to divert peoples' attention from corruption and various scams plaguing the UPA government at the Centre.

Gandhi also lashed out at the UP government for carrying out forced land acquisition.

"There have been financial irregularities in Noida where land of the poor has been acquired and given to builders for the Yamuna Expressway. Why is this happening?" he posed.

He said this was because the youth of the state were not standing up and questioning the government.  "It is the youth's responsibility," Gandhi pointed out, asking young Congress workers to revive the party and in the process rid the state of Mayawati's "misrule".

With Congress trying to regain its lost moorings in the state, he said the youth leaders must expose the "anti-people and anti-farmer policies" of the BSP government and fan out among the masses to propagate the Centre's people-oriented policies and programmes.

He was addressing the party's youth brigade at Syed Modi stadium here.

"Work at grass root level and be sensitive towards the problems of common man," was Gandhi's refrain during his interaction with the Youth Congress workers here and later in Mau district.

After his Kisan Sandesh Yatra in western UP earlier this month where he undertook foot march from villages in Gautam Buddha Nagar to Aligarh, this is his second mass contact programme in the state.

41-year-old Gandhi faces a tough challenge in Uttar Pradesh, where he succeeded in reviving the Congress by ensuring its victory in 22 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2009.

Seeking to establish direct contact with people in the countryside, Gandhi stopped at a roadside kiosk near Dhuriyapar sugar mill to have snacks on his way to Mau.

"It was a pleasant surprise," shopkeeper Ramdin Gupta said, adding, the Congress leader enjoyed "pakauras and namkeen" (deep-fried snacks).

During his brief stopover, the Congress leader also interacted with villagers and heard their woes relating to water, power and road connectivity.

Gandhi also undertook a boat ride to reach Kataka village in Piprauli block to hold a 'chaupal' (villagers' meeting).

Revive Congress in UP: Rahul to youths

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday urged the youth to work hard for reviving Congress in Uttar Pradesh and absolve it of the alleged "misrule" of the Mayawati-led BSP government.

In a meeting with the party's youth brigade at Syed Modi railway stadium, he said that the youth should come forward to propagate the centre's "people-oriented policies and programmes", and unearth the "anti-people and anti-farmer policies" of the state government.

Senior Congress leaders including state unit president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, national and state youth Congress office bearers were present for the meeting, apart from district-level office bearers of seven districts of Gorakhpur and Basti divisions.

(Agencies)