With 2019 Lok Sabha election less than a year away, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh is all geared up to unleash ‘Brand Modi’ to propel the self-acclaimed economic and industrial development agenda of chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
In the coming days, Modi is slated to lay the foundation of several projects to the tune of more than Rs 800 billion in UP, including the mega Purvanchal Expressway project estimated to cost Rs 233 billion.
While the PM would lay the foundation of the proposed 341 km Expressway during his Azamgarh tour on July 14, Modi is likely to visit Lucknow on July 29 to preside over the ‘ground breaking’ ceremony of projects pertaining to different sectors and estimated at over Rs 600 billion.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for these diversified projects were signed with the private companies at the mega UP Investors Summit 2018, which was also inaugurated by Modi amid a galaxy of top corporate captains including Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, and Subhash Chandra. Investment proposals of almost Rs 4.68 trillion were received by the state government at the two-day Summit on 21-22 February.
Since, Azamgarh is the parliamentary constituency of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, the launch of the Expressway project is a clever strategy of the ruling BJP government to make inroads in this SP pocket borough, which has a substantial Muslim population as well.
Earlier this week, the Adityanath cabinet had cleared decks for Purvanchal Expressway by approving the selection of bidders for the 8 different packages of the mega infrastructure project, touted to be the largest access controlled expressway in India.
On the basis of lowest bids, nodal agency UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) had selected Gayatri Projects, PNC Infratech, GR Infra Project, Apco Infratech and Oriental Structural Engineering for developing its 8 different stretches. These companies had collectively quoted bids of about Rs 112 billion with the remaining component of cost pertaining to land acquisition.
Meanwhile, Modi is also slated to address a farmers’ rally in the western UP district of Shahjahanpur on July 21, which comes in the backdrop of the Centre announcing steep hike in minimum support price (MSP) of major kharif crops, including paddy and other coarse cereals.
In the crucial election year, BJP has put its entire machinery in election mode. In recent weeks, Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had visited UP and the duo is likely to keep firing on all cylinders in coming months, since UP accounts for maximum 80 seats in Parliament.
The coming together of arch-rivals SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to jointly fight the saffron outfit has forced the BJP spin doctors to rework their strategy to consolidate and expand its traditional vote bank.