With over one crore people and counting registering for a free smartphone in UP, the ultimate budget of this ambitious scheme may surpass even that of the Lucknow Metro if Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party manage to repeat a five-year-term.
On December 6 evening, the total number of registrations for a free smartphone from a prospective SP government after the 2017 polls, crossed the 1 crore mark – 10005181 to be precise. 96% of these applicants are in the young age group of 18-34 though applications are open for all age groups. Infact, 86% of all applicants are between 18-24 years of age. 38% of all applicants are females, as per the data with ET. “We are expecting at least 30 lakh-50 lakh more registrations till the extended date of December 31.
The Akhilesh Yadav government is attaching top priority to this promise – much like the free laptops promise before the 2012 polls which the SP won and later distributed nearly 18 lakh free laptops to meritorious students. In the smartphone exercise, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s constituency of Azamgarh has emerged among the top three districts reporting the most registrations at 3.75 lakh. The top two districts are Allahabad and Jaunpur while Lucknow has seen 2.98 lakh registrations and PM’s constituency Varanasi has seen 2.6 lakh registrations. Surprisingly, NCR districts like Gautam Budh Nagar (NOIDA) and Ghaziabad are way behind with just 31175 and 70827 registrations respectively so far.