Jan 16, 2009

India - Miliband has a rural stint

Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has lauded the progress of development works in the Amethi parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Miliband, who was on a visit there at the invitation of Member of Parliament and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, returned to New Delhi on Thursday.

Accompanied by Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Miliband visited various places in the constituency. At Narainpur village in Deeh block, he saw the literacy programme initiated by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and interacted with the children of English Relay Programme School. Mr. Miliband was pleasantly surprised when the children welcomed him in English.

Mr. Miliband reportedly asked Mr. Gandhi about telephone connectivity in the rural areas and the number of PCOs in the constituency. He later visited a school run by the Rajiv Gandhi Literacy Mission at Pandey ka Purwa village. Here, Mr. Gandhi acted as the interpreter.

In a brief interaction with journalists at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, Mr. Miliband said Pakistan should take action against terror groups responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks. Pakistan should do so to redeem its image in the international community.

He lauded the efforts of Mr. Gandhi towards education, health and poverty alleviation, especially the literacy programme in villages.

To a query on Mr. Gandhi as prime minister, he reportedly said he should concentrate on his present job.

Sleeps on charpoy

Mr. Miliband savoured Dalit hospitality on Thursday, when he stayed at the house of Ms. Karma in Semra village in Amethi. For a change, Mr. Miliband slept on a charpoy.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said Mr. Miliband and Mr. Gandhi’s entourage reached Semra in Bhetua block at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, where they were accorded a traditional welcome by women self-help groups.

The interaction with the village people and women self-help groups continued till about 1.30 a.m. Their entourage left Semra at around 5.30 a.m.

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