Uttar Pradesh government on Monday decided Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, will get round-the-clock power supply like several other areas in the state.
The holy city is hit by long power cuts though, on paper, it receives electricity for about 20 hours. The BJP had accused the government of punishing people in Varanasi and other UP districts for voting overwhelmingly for the saffron party in the general election.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav directed UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) managing director AP Mishra to ensure uninterrupted power supply for Varanasi after his meeting seven-time BJP MLA 'Dada' Shyam Deo Rai Chaudhary, 75, who had been on fast since May 27 in protest against frequent power cuts in the city.
"The CM told me that he was concerned about my health and that he required me in the UP assembly to engage in debates and discussions," Chaudhary told HT after meeting with Akhilesh.
"I told him that if that was so, he should ensure 24x7 power supply to Varanasi, as it is a holy city that draws tourists from across the globe and also because it is the PM's constituency," the veteran legislator added.
At this, the CM reminded Chaudhary why uninterrupted power supply was hard to deliver and asked him to prevail upon the BJP-led NDA government at the centre to release more power for UP.
However Chaudhary simply told the CM that he wasn't interested in politics.
"I merely want unhindered power supply for my city," he said.
When Chaudhary refused to budge, the CM remarked, "Dada, just for sake of your honor we will get that done." He then got the MLA to call off his fast by eating sweets.
"I would have offered you juice but at the moment I have got to rush to Raj Bhawan now," the CM said before leaving behind a satisfied BJP legislator and some happy party workers.
"It's a welcome decision," said Manish Singh, a BJP worker from Rohaniya assembly segment of Varanasi.
After Lucknow, which is represented by Rajnath Singh, Varanasi would be the second constituency to get the privilege so far limited to a handful of districts, mainly represented by top ruling party leaders.
Azamgarh (SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's parliamentary constituency), Etawah (home district of the Yadav family) and Congress strongholds, Amethi and Rae Bareli are among the areas that get uninterrupted power supply.