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Raising the Pitch in UP: To Back Incumbent Yogi, Modi Launches New Infra Projects Ahead of Polls

Months before the Assembly elections, the network of expressways and new airports are being built, and new rail routes are simultaneously being laid down by the government to woo voters.
Modi Launches New Infra Projects Ahead of Polls

Lucknow: Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of the 594-kilometre long Ganga Expressway in Shahjahanpur on Saturday (December 18). The six-lane expressway will be built at the cost of over Rs 36,200 crore. PM Modi also attacked previous governments for not doing much despite many prime ministers being elected from the state.

Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister raised slogans of "UP + Yogi bohot hai upyogi" (meaning Yogi Adityanath's government in Uttar Pradesh turned out to be useful). He said the day was not far when UP would be identified as the most modern state with next-generation infrastructure.

Attacking Oppositions, PM Modi said some political parties had problems with the country's 'vikas and virasat' (development and inheritance). "They are more concerned about vote bank," he said.

Months ahead of the Assembly elections, the network of expressways and new airports are being built, and new rail routes are being laid down at the same time by the government to woo voters. 

Political experts from Shahjahanpur, where the PM rolled out the country's longest expressway project... Shahjahanpur comes under the BJP's Braj organisational region comprising 36 assembly seats.

Sudhir Panwar, professor of political science at Lucknow University and former member of the Uttar Pradesh planning commission, said he believed that the recent work was started mainly due to three reasons: "The first reason is that the BJP believe that public memory is short and voting behaviour can be influenced by the current events. Secondly, the BJP strategists think that people will vote in favour of the BJP for the continuation of projects/sops announced at the fag end of Adityanath's tenure. Last but not least, the ruling party wishes to push their image as dynamic and working among the electorate." 

Likewise, the inauguration of Jewar airport in Gautam Buddh Nagar by Modi on November 25 covered the west UP region comprising 71 assembly seats, where BJP felt the heat from farmers' unrest against the now-repealed farm laws. This was immediately followed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah laying the foundation for Maa Shakumbhari Devi University in Saharanpur's Behat Assembly constituency on December 2.

On November 16, PM Modi flagged off Purvanchal Expressway from Sultanpur, which falls in the Gorakhpur organisational region, comprising 62 assembly seats. In fact, Modi visited Gorakhpur, the home turf of CM Ajay Singh Bisht, popularly known as Yogi Adityanath, to inaugurate AIIMS and a revived fertiliser factory on December 7. This was seen as the BJP's bid to put Modi on the forefront to escalate the poll blitz in the politically crucial eastern UP

A week later, on December 14, PM Modi inaugurated the first phase of Kashi Vishwanath Dham corridor, igniting the BJP's Hindutva pitch in Kashi organisational region comprising 71 assembly seats. Modi also visited Balrampur in Awadh region on December 11 to inaugurate the Saryu Canal project. 

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president and former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav took potshots at the BJP government over the Saryu Nahar National Project, saying that three-fourths of its work was already completed during his government, while the Yogi administration took five more years to complete the rest.

When questioned why all these inaugurations were done weeks before the election announcement and what was the government doing for five years, senior journalist and political commentator Atul Chandra said, "The projects are being inaugurated now to create the perception of how much the government has done for the state. The BJP expects voters to remember this at the time of voting. Also, at this time, no one will remember that the Akhilesh Yadav government gave the Kanpur metro approval. The SP government also started the initial work."

Meanwhile, CM Yogi has also switched to campaign mode, and inaugurated and laid the foundations of several new projects in the state while touring across Uttar Pradesh extensively.

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