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Purvanchal Expressway turns into political battlefield

 
By Amita Verma
Lucknow, Nov 16 (IANS) The Purvanchal Expressway is now becoming the arena for the battle between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.



While the BJP is determined to showcase the 341-kilometre-long expressway as its biggest achievement, the Samajwadi Party is gearing up to drive holes into the same.

The expressway passes through nine districts -- Lucknow, Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur -- all considered to be strongholds of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress.

The BJP hopes to make major gains in this region by promoting the expressway as the harbinger of economic prosperity in the otherwise backward region.

According to political analysts, the BJP has set its eyes on the eastern Uttar Pradesh to retain power -- more so because the party is facing stiff resistance from farmers who have been agitating against the farm laws in western part of the state.

The battle for the eastern Uttar Pradesh will be decisive in deciding the fate of the political parties in the upcoming Assembly elections. This can be gauged from the fact that out of the 403 Assembly seats in the state, 160 are in this region.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, "Eastern UP or Purvanchal, which was neglected after Independence, is now moving at a fast pace on the path of development. The expressway will become the backbone of the economy of the eastern UP.

"At eight spots on the expressway, the state government will develop industrial corridor to give fillip to industrial and business activities. The state government has issued a notification for the development of the industrial corridor."

The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, is working overtime to take the credit for the project which was conceptualised in its regime.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, said, "The SP government completed the Agra Expressway within 22 months whereas the BJP government is inaugurating an incomplete Purvanchal Expressway. The people are aware that quality has been compromised in the making of the expressway and will not be misled."

BSP president Mayawati has also taken a plunge into the expressway battle.

"The BJP is trying to take credit for the Purvanchal Expressway which is not correct. The plan of the expressway project to connect Noida in west UP with the districts of eastern UP was prepared when the BSP was in power. Due to the hurdles put by the then Congress government at the Centre, the project could not be launched," she said.

--IANS
amita/dpb