It is "shameful" that Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states in cases of crime against women, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Tuesday, prompting state government spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh to rubbish her claims.
Priyanka Gandhi, who is in her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli to attend a three-day party meet, told reporters that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should do something to address the matter.
"The state is at the top in crime against women. It is shameful and the chief minister must do something about it," she said.
In a tweet later, the Congress leader said, "The highest number of crimes against women in the country is taking place in UP. More than 56,000 a year and this does not include incidents that are not reported (to police). Is this data not serious enough for the chief minister to take cognizance."
Priyanka Gandhi's comments came in the backdrop of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2017 released on Monday that stated that the maximum number of crimes against women were registered in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the data, over 3.5 lakh cases of crime against women were registered in the country, of which the maximum cases were registered in Uttar Pradesh (56,011), which is also the country's most populous state.
Refuting the claims made by Priyanka Gandhi, UP cabinet minister and government spokesperson Singh, in a statement issued in Lucknow, accused the opposition of "manipulating" the NCRB data. "The opposition especially Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Akhilesh Yadav are trying to derive political mileage without proper study of it."
He added that to understand the NCRB statistics, the ratio should be calculated based on the population. He also said that states with a higher population also have higher occurrence and registration of crime.
"To understand the position of crime, the crime rate is a good and reliable indicator. The condition of the women under the government of Yogi Adityanath has been strengthened to a great extent. At present, the women in the state are feeling much secured as compared to the past," he said.
During the workshop, Priyanka Gandhi, along with the newly appointed office-bearers of the state unit of the party, will formulate ideas to reach out to the grassroots level and connect with the common man, sources said.
The young and old leaders of the Congress would deliberate on the future strategy to be adopted in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. The workshop will be a closed-door affair and leaders will come out with ideas on how to take on the BJP government in UP and expose it on various fronts of "misgovernance" and law and order issues, the sources said.
This is the first major event organized by the new Uttar Pradesh Congress team which was announced a few days ago. Priyanka Gandhi was accorded rousing welcome by party leaders and workers at Bachravan, Harchandpur, Gangaganj before she reached the Bhueymau guest house, the venue of the workshop.
A Congress leader from Rae Bareli requesting anonymity said, "Priyankaji told us the Congress will move ahead on the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi, and that to tackle the rival parties we have to be aggressive yet exercise patience." He said the party leaders were told to reply to the questions raised by rival parties while maintaining the party line.
"Policies of the party and the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi were also elaborately discussed. The trainers tried to satisfy those attending the program by clearing their doubts and answering their queries. Their suggestions were also noted," the party leader said.
"She (Priyanka Gandhi) participated in the program, but she did not say anything to the leaders. She sat like an invigilator (pareekshak), and heard the points made by the leaders," he said, adding that attempts were made to infuse energy among those attending the program.