It was a humanitarian gesture when Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi visited Umbha village in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday to interact with the villagers who faced the tyranny of a Gram Pradhan, but the opposition blasted her calling the visit “political tourism”.
The BJP, BSP and Samajwadi Party joined hands in criticising Priyanka and Congress. By evening newspaper officers were swarmed with press releases from small to big leaders of these parties questioning Priyanka’s visit. Mayawati even took to twitter to criticise the Congress party and Priyanka saying she was shedding crocodile tears.
This criticism has no solid grounds as leaders of all the political parties had gone to the village and had met the family members of the victims who died in a massacre on July 17. They had even offered monetary support to the families. Then why political parties are reacting like this now?
It is the same SP and BSP which had failed to stall Monsoon session of the state legislature on this issue. They preferred their own vested interests over the incident which stirred the conscience of a common man. The main opposition party Samajwadi Party was more keen in raising the issue of government’s decision of declaring its senior leader Azam Khan as land mafia while the Bahujan Samaj Party questioned why the property of Anand Kumar, who is national vice-president of BSP and brother of Mayawati, was attached.
The monsoon session started on July 18. Just a day earlier, on July 17, at least 10 farmers were killed in broad day light in Umbha village in Sonbhadra district when they opposed the attempt by Gram Pradhan to take possession of a piece of land. The dispute on that land has been going on for last 64 years.
And now, the same opposition parties, bolstered with the support of the ruling BJP, questioned Priyanka’s visit to Umbha village. What has rattled the opposition is the way Priyanka took the lead in this issue. She was the first to visit the injured in Varanasi hospital and then decided to go to Umbha to meet the victims’ families. She was stopped at Chunar. But the pressure was so much that the administration was forced to bring some villagers from Umbha, whom Priyanka met at Chunar guest house.
“Priyanka’s visit testifies Congress’ ideology of helping the deprived section of the society. Leaders of other political parties went to Umbha village with an eye on the vote bank but Priyanka went there to console the families who lost their near and dear ones on that fateful day. This is the difference between the Congress and other parties,” state general secretary UPCC, RP Singh said.
BJP spokesman Harish Chandra Srivastava had called the visit `political tourism’. “Priyanka is from the naamdar family. Members of this family only go to the places where they will get publicity. This one day tour has given her publicity but not the political ground which the Congress is looking for in UP,” he said in a statement.