Lucknow: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday reiterated that Central funds for the development of Uttar Pradesh were being misused by the Mayawati government and, if voted to power, his party would make the state 'number one' in the country.

Rahul Tuesday embarked upon a mass contact programme ahead of the state assembly polls early next year.

“The poor in the state are not getting the benefits of funds being released for them and the development of Uttar Pradesh. It's because the state government is not bothered about the development of Uttar Pradesh and the poor and downtrodden,” Gandhi told a gathering in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki district, some 30 km from Lucknow.

“Since the last 20 years, the poor are not getting their share... The governments of Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have all been anti-people.”

“If the Congress forms the government in Uttar Pradesh, we assure that in five years we would in a big way take up the development of the state, and in 10 years Uttar Pradesh will get to acquire the number one position among all the states in the country,” added Gandhi.

Taking on Mayawati 'for not accepting MNREGS as the most profitable scheme for the poor', Gandhi said, “Actually, she is right that MNREGS is not of any help for the poor in the state because it is senior ministers, bureaucrats, contractors and middlemen, who actually get the benefits from the MNREGS and other Central government sponsored schemes.”

“Either the developmental funds are blocked in Lucknow or are made to disappear by bureaucrats. And you all have to suffer... It's not the loss of Chief Minister, officers or anyone... The public of the state is at the receiving end,” said Gandhi.

He said owing to the anti-people stand of the Mayawati government, the Congress-led central government this time made certain provisions so that the Rs.6,234 crore weavers' package can actually be availed of by weavers.

“We were told that the weavers would not get a single penny of the package if it was executed by the state government-controlled cooperative societies. Therefore, this time we made the arrangements so that the money could be deposited directly to the bank accounts of the weavers. I am quite confident that now the weavers would get the benefits of the package.”

Calling upon the public, particularly youths, to support the Congress for 'changing the future of the state', Gandhi said, “We all can change the future of the state if we stand united. It's not at all difficult... If you want to change the Uttar Pradesh government, you need to support the Congress at the Centre.”

“With your support Congress can give you 'a government-for-all' in the state... It will work for every section of society, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. We would ensure that the money meant for the public reaches the desired destination.”

Citing examples of Congress-ruled states, Gandhi said, “Despite the progress of the country, Uttar Pradesh continues to lag behind... If the situation prevails, you will continue to move to Punjab, Haryana and other states for jobs. We will bring the state on track and work for its progress and development in a real sense,” said Gandhi.

In a bid to boost the morale of party workers ahead of the assembly polls, Gandhi said, “Someone told me that unlike our opponents, the Congress party workers don't have enough money... I am of the view that it is not money power that makes one powerful.”

“I believe power comes to those who follow the truth... I am confident that Congress workers - the backbone of our party - will make the party victorious in the assembly polls... I am quite confident about it,” said Gandhi.

(Agencies)