Lucknow: Amid protests from Congress, Uttar
Pradesh PWD Minister on Wednesday hurriedly inaugurated a bridge in
Rae Bareli, which was scheduled to be declared open by UPA
chairperson Sonia Gandhi, even as a Union minister was stopped
by police from `inspecting` the structure.
PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui inaugurated the one-km
bridge, constructed over the Ganga at a function in the state
capital this afternoon, though it was scheduled to be thrown
open for public tomorrow.
The minister said it would be declared open again in
Dalmau tehsil of Rae Bareli district tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, a delegation of Congress legislators
submitted a memorandum to Governor B L Joshi demanding
cancellation of tomorrow`s inauguration by Siddiqui stating
that party president Sonia Gandhi was scheduled to declare it
open in her Lok Sabha constituency in the second week of
The construction of the bridge was taken up at a cost of
Rs 31.65 crore, under Central Road Fund by the Union Ministry
of Surface Transport. It connects Rae Bareli with Fatehpur
The chief engineer of the Union ministry on February 17
had informed the ruling BSP that Gandhi would inaugurate the
bridge in the second week of March, date of which would be
informed by Gandhi`s local office, the legislators said.
Later in the day Union Minister of State for Surface
Transport RPN Singh was stopped by police in Munshiganj while
he was on his way to `inspect` the bridge.
Congress lawmakers claimed that it was due to Gandhi`s
effort that the bridge was constructed in her constituency.
"The bridge was constructed under Central Road Fund by Union
Ministry of Surface Transport," the memorandum said.
"Gandhi`s programme was fixed for March 9, when the
BSP government decided to inaugurate it," Congress MLA from
Harchandpur Shivganesh Lodhi told reporters here.
Siddiqui, however, rubbished the allegations of
Congress claiming that the programme was finalised in January.
"I was also told that Sonia was scheduled to inaugurate
the bridge, but the state government had finalised the
programme in January itself," he said.
He said initially Chief Minister Mayawati was scheduled
to inaugurate it on her birthday on January 15. "But as some
construction work was left, it was postponed," he added.
Asked why the function was advanced at the eleventh
hour, the minister said he would inaugurate the bridge again
tomorrow at the site.
"There is nothing new in organising programme here.
Many a time functions were held in Lucknow and later the
plaque was installed at the actual place," Siddiqui explained.
About Union Minister Singh being stopped on the way,
Siddiqui said he went to Dalmau only after hearing about the
state government`s function.
The bridge was inaugurated in the presence of state
Panchayat Raj Minister Swami Prasad Maurya and state