Assembly elections are due in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh in seven to eight months from now. On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launched his Mission UP campaign. Modi had gone to his constituency Varanasi to launch projects worth Rs 1,583 crore, but while listing out his achievements in Varanasi, the Prime Minister indirectly alerted his party leaders and workers to gear up for the elections.
In a single speech, Modi clarified several points: One, the party will go in for UP polls under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and will seek votes for his “outstanding” performance, Two, he elaborated on how Yogi Adityanath has been working hard for the last four and a half years and his list of achievements was too long, Three, he fully supported Yogi government’s campaign to root out terrorists, criminals and mafia gangs, Four, the manner in which Yogi’s government took control of the second wave of pandemic was “unpredented”.
By saying this, Modi cleared all doubts about Yogi’s leadership as part of BJP’s strategy for the forthcoming UP assembly elections. Never had Modi praised any chief minister by saying, “the list of development work in UP under Yogi Ji’s leadership is so long that anybody will find it difficult what to choose and what to leave out”.
The Prime Minister said, Yogi Ji is full of energy, he works very hard, keeps eye on each project and during crisis, leads from the front. That is why, he added, there is ‘kanoon ka raaj’ (rule of law) in UP, and terrorists and mafias have been kept on leash. Modi also gave the reason for this success: Corruption and nepotism (bhai-bhatijavad) have been given the go by, and the present government believes in ‘vikaasvad’ (pro-development). By making this single remark, Modi targeted SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati, both former chief ministers, who are going to pose a challenge in the forthcoming polls.
For the first time in UP, gangsters and mafia criminals, out of fear of facing encounters, have surrendered to police by hanging posters around their necks. Never in the past did any state government used bulldozers to destroy opulent buildings, hotels and residences of mafia gangsters. Never in the past were mafia leaders like Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari used to tremble at the prospects of entering UP. When Modi said that “mafia raj” has now ended in UP, he was right. It was due to the strong, no-nonsense policy of Yogi Adityanath not to tolerate criminals and gangsters at any cost.
When Modi said, corruption in state government has been curbed, he was right. In the last four and a half years of Yogi’s rule, there was not a single charge of corruption against the government over issues like, say transfer, postings. By working hard throughout the day, Yogi has followed Modi’s footsteps. Yogi keeps watch on each and every project, and fixes a deadline for completion. He himself vets the progress reports of each project. The results are there for all to see: projects are being completed within set deadlines. When Modi described Yogi as an ‘energetic chief minister’, he was, therefore, right.This transformation was possible only due to Yogi’s ceaseless work.
Modi’s visit to Varanasi was well timed: the second wave of pandemic has been controlled, more or less. His visit was significant because he was visiting his constituency after 225 days. Though he had been keeping in touch with his constituency leaders through video conferencing, since the second wave of pandemic has abated, he chose to address a public gathering.
Modi inaugurated 78 projects and laid foundation of 205 projects. He inaugurated ‘Rudraksh’ the swanky convention centre build with Japanese assistance, 14 oxygen plants, a multi-level parking and a 100-bed hospital in BHU campus, a three-lane flyover linking Varanasi to Ghazipur and a Ro-Ro service on river Ganga. These projects have transformed the face of the oldest city Varanasi. This is not the old Varanasi that one used to see during their visits to the city for the past several decades.
As far as my memory serves, I have never seen Modi publicly praising a chief minister or a party leader in the manner that he did on Thursday. By doing so, he scotched all speculations in the social media about a sort of estrangement between the two leaders. There were feverish speculations about Yogi’s future with some pundits claiming that Modi was unhappy with Yogi’s handling of the pandemic. I have heard several Congress leaders say that Modi wanted to remove Yogi and he did not congratulate Yogi on his birthday via Twitter, but all those speculations bit the dust when Modi started praising the chief minister.
I personally know Modi for the last several decades. He is not the sort of individual who speaks with a forked tongue. When Modi praises somebody, he does so after proper research and verification. On Wednesday, his message to the people of UP was clear: Yogi has done a good job and he extends his full support to his leadership. Modi indirectly criticized the Samajwadi Party by saying that money from the Centre used to come earlier too, but most of the money used to be diverted. Modi said, Yogi worked hard and used every paisa of the money sent by the Centre for development work.
So the campaign has been launched. It will be Modi and Yogi leading the assault in UP.
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