In a big pitch by top BJP leaders in Poorvanchal (eastern) region of Uttar Pradesh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be in Varanasi and Azamgarh for two days next week to review the BJP’s election preparation, and soon after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may inaugurate the state’s longest Poorvanchal Expressway from Sultanpur.
The Poorvanchal Expressway is a showpiece project of the Yogi Adityanath government to connect Lucknow with eastern UP. Sources in the Uttar Pradesh government told News18 that the PM may inaugurate this project from Sultanpur district on November 15 or any day soon after depending on his availability. A 3-km-long air-strip built on this Expressway in Sultanpur district will be the venue.
Amit Shah is, meanwhile, expected to be in Varanasi and Azamgarh on November 12 and 13. This visit will be significant as Shah will be holding a rally in Azamgarh, the constituency of Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav. Yadav and his new alliance partner, Om Prakash Rajbhar, had last week held a big rally in Mau and the Samajwadi Party claims this alliance will dent the BJP in eastern UP.
BJP’s entire top brass in the state, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, both deputy Chief Ministers, state in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan and Radha Mohan Singh as well as the co-incharges of the BJP in UP, will be in Varanasi along with Shah. The Home Minister is expected to arrive on November 12 and stay for two days.
Shah will chair the first-ever All India Official Languages Conference in Varanasi on November 13 and on the same day lay the foundation stone of a University in Azamgarh, where he will also hold a public rally. Shah is expected to hold brain-storming sessions with BJP leaders in Varanasi on November 12 regarding the party’s strategy in east UP.
Shah’s pitch in Azamgarh
The BJP is aiming to make a big statement in Azamgarh with Shah’s visit and rally as the foundation stone of the project of a state university, which has been a long-standing demand, is laid. The project had not seen the light of the day during the tenure of Akhilesh Yadav as the CM, who is now the MP from Azamgarh.
The recent visit by Om Prakash Rajbhar to meet gangster-MLA Mukhtar Ansari in jail and offer him a ticket is another issue that the BJP will strongly raise during Shah’s visit. Ansari is the MLA from Mau near Azamgarh in east UP. The BJP will cite this as SP’s continued backing of criminals and gangsters, and Muslim appeasement politics.
The new Poorvanchal Expressway, to be inaugurated by the PM soon after, will also link Lucknow to Azamgarh and Ghazipur, and will be cited by the BJP as a big achievement.
Varanasi and Poorvanchal
Poorvanchal has been the BJP’s stronghold in elections since 2014 with PM Modi leading the charge by winning Varanasi twice in 2014 and 2019 with a big margin and CM Yogi Adityanath having Gorakhpur as his stronghold region. PM Modi earlier this month visited Varanasi to unveil projects worth Rs 5,000 crore and also launched a Rs 64000-crore worth national health scheme from Varanasi.
BJP leaders and in-charges from the entire eastern UP region are expected to be part of Shah’s long strategy meetings on November 12, party functionaries said. The BJP has an alliance with Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal which has been a significant factor in eastern Uttar Pradesh in the past. Just last week, Shah was in Lucknow for meetings.