A quip by UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav about Modi government indulging in ‘smart city’ politics has irked the state BJP, which on Monday criticised the chief minister for not being able to ready “smart systems” in the state.
The first list of 20 smart cities, whose names were released by the Centre on Thursday, didn’t include a single city from Uttar Pradesh, where state elections are due in early 2017. “The BJP government at the centre played smart. They didn’t include even a single city from UP under the project,” the CM had said.
On Monday, the BJP hit back. UP BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said: “Instead of seeing politics in the selection of smart cities, he should cross check on why UP failed to make the first cut of 20 cities. We dare the CM to prove politics in the project, which we believe is one of the finest examples of merit-based, completely transparent and apolitical model.”
“The 20 cities that were selected in the first phase had impressive credentials. Their proposals were evaluated by experts including three foreigners from London School of Economics and the World Bank and three Indians who represented different urban development agencies. The winning cities had details on how they planned to go about on various parameters like sustainable urban planning and developing eco systems,” Pathak said.
Ironically, the centre had allotted maximum number of 13 smart cities in phase I of the project to UP. The list included constituencies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Varanasi) and union home minister Rajnath Singh (Lucknow) apart from other cities --Aligarh, Rampur, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur and Jhansi, all of whom are now represented by BJP MPs.