With Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav set to complete four years in office on March 15, the infrastructure push by his ruling Samajwadi Party government would be his hard sell to electorate as he seeks re-election.
Lucknow Metro Rail, Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Lucknow IT City form the troika of his flagship projects, which are scheduled to be completed before UP goes to polls in early 2017.
While, Lucknow Metro Rail project is underway, the state government has already finalised the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Kanpur and Varanasi metro rail projects, while similar projects have also been proposed for other major towns, including Agra.
Similarly, the state government is gearing up for another mega Lucknow-Ballia Purvanchal Expressway, to provide seamless connectivity between Eastern UP to the National Capital Region (NCR) via Purvanchal Expressway, Agra-Lucknow Expressway and the operational Yamuna Expressway.
The Lucknow IT City is being developed by HCL Technologies. Other major infrastructure projects underway include Lucknow International Cricket Stadium, Trans Ganga City (Kanpur), Saraswati Hitech City (Allahabad) etc.
The government is linking all district headquarters with four lane all weather roads, besides ramping up power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. It has promised to provide 24 hr power supply in the urban areas before the next polls, which is being seen as a direct fight between SP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
After coming to power, the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) government had put the populist measures on the overdrive, which had actually helped the party capture power in UP. These included free laptop scheme, unemployment dole etc.
However, the 2014 Lok Sabha polls debacle made SP digress from populist policies to development agenda to browbeat BJP mascot and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. SP had won just 5 seats, down from 24 in 2009 general elections.
Now, Yadav has pitched his projects against Modi viz. UP has launched ‘Clean UP, Green UP’ to counter Swachh Bharat Mission’, ‘Make in UP’ for ‘Make in India’ etc. The government has been liberally spending on publicity and holding investors’ and Non Resident Indian (NRI) conclaves seeking investment in the state.
According to sources, Yadav is likely to undertake extensive tours of the remote areas of UP for getting firsthand feedback from the grassroots about the development works undertaken by the government.
Yadav and his father, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav have never shied to air concern that party leaders and government officials had miserably failed to create awareness about the various development and welfare schemes of the dispensation.
Mulayam had even advised Akhilesh to look beyond the coterie of officials and leaders to know the ground situation with regards to the public mood before the poll bugle.
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