LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s visits to Kairana in Shamli and Rampur on Monday marked the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) strategy of putting its saffron mascot on the front for escalating the political spadework in the restive west UP region ahead of the assembly elections.
The visits are crucial as Kairana was at the centre stage during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections after BJP had ratcheted up the issue of Hindu exodus following the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots, while Rampur is the bastion of Samajwadi Party (SP) MP Azam Khan.
The chief minister said in Kairana that those with “Talibani mindset will not be tolerated in Uttar Pradesh”. Referring to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and the Kairana “exodus”, he added, “the criminals who had forced Kairana businessmen to flee their homes are themselves compelled to follow the exodus process now.”
Informed party sources said Yogi is likely to visit Mathura, Meerut and Saharanpur in quick succession in the next few days.
In Mathura, on November 10, Yogi will inaugurate the ‘Braj Raj Utsav’ which is being organised by Braj Teerth Vikas Board. On November 11, the CM will felicitate Paralympics sportspersons from across the state in Meerut.
Plans are also afoot for CM’s visit to Saharanpur where he will lay the foundation stone of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) centre in Deoband. The state government had in August green flagged the project, which entails setting up a commando centre over 2,000 sq mt. The move had come under sharp criticism as the opposition termed it a ‘polarisation bid’ of the BJP government.
UP BJP organisation secretary and in charge of Saharanpur, Chandra Mohan said the development of west UP has been high on CM Yogi’s agenda. “His visits to the region will speed up the ongoing development projects being carried out by the state government,” he said.
Yogi’s move to step up campaign in west UP also gains pertinence in the backdrop of farmers’ continuing protest against the new farm laws. The Lakhimpur violence in which eight persons, including four protesting farmers, were killed had further stoked political frenzy in the region having a sizeable presence of Dalits and Muslims.
The development also draws a noticeable contrast from the politically crucial east UP region that has been hogging the spotlight amid the opposition’s concerted attempts for gaining a foothold in PM Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi and CM Yogi’s political backyard Gorakhpur.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is planning to set the political temperature soaring by kicking off the third phase of his ‘Vijay Yatra’ from Gorakhpur on November 13.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has already visited Varanasi and Gorakhpur and addressed rallies.
BJP too is digging in its heels in east UP where Union home minister Amit Shah will lay the foundation stone of a university in Azamgarh, the parliamentary constituency of Akhilesh, on November 13.
The inauguration of the 341km Purvanchal Expressway connecting Lucknow with Ghazipur by PM Narendra Modi at Sultanpur on November 16 would further reinforce BJP’s development narrative ahead of polls.




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