Lucknow: In the wake of a fresh letter from Jairam Ramesh accusing Mayawati of protecting corrupt official involved in MGNREGS irregularities, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on Saturday hit back at the Union Rural Development Minister and asked if there was no corruption in other states.
Reading out Mayawati’s letter at a press conference, state Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar said the Centre only had described Uttar Pradesh as the best performing state in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for the past three to four years.
The Chief Minister wants to know from the Central government what happened suddenly that the state is being attacked on MNREGA issue, Shekhar said.
On Ramesh’s charge that Mayawati was protecting those involved in alleged irregularities in implementation of MNREGA in some districts, the CM said action had been taken against many corrupt officials in several districts.
“The allegations being levelled are baseless and misleading,” Mayawati said in her response.
In his letter, Ramesh had urged Mayawati to accept his suggestion for a CBI probe into the irregularities.
Ramesh had said that despite probes pointing to large-scale misuse of funds, the state government had neither acted against erring officials nor taken effective steps to recover the misused money.
Ramesh’s letter was written on November 14, the day Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi launched party's poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh and targeted Mayawati for corruption in the state.
Citing his earlier letter of October 24 and Mayawati's response to it, Ramesh said his ministry has been repeatedly urging the state government for action in connection with the irregularities.
The minister cited instances of alleged irregularities and corruption in the implementation of MGNREGS in Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Kushinagar, Mirzapur and Sant Kabir Nagar districts.
In response to Ramesh's first letter, Mayawati had last month written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accusing the minister of a "preconceived agenda".
Meanwhile, commenting on the Centre’s proposed financial package for crisis-ridden handloom weavers in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati asked if the same was an “election stunt”.
First Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011, 13:20