In Gorakhpur rally, PM Modi set the tone for Lok Sabha poll battle in Purvanchal
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In Gorakhpur rally, PM Modi set the tone for Lok Sabha poll battle in Purvanchal

Aware of the importance of 31 Lok Sabha seats of east UP that will be crucial in regaining power at the Centre, PM Modi, during a rally on Sunday, said the NDA government had launched several development and welfare schemes to give thrust to development in the region

lok sabha elections Updated: Feb 25, 2019 11:55 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
modi's gorakhpur rally,PM-KISAN scheme,2019 LS polls
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the PM-KISAN scheme, at Gorakhpur, in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, Feb 24, 2019.(ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the pitch for a fierce poll battle in Purvanchal region (east UP) with the announcement of the launch of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) as well as Rs 10,000-crore development projects for the region on Sunday.

Aware of the importance of 31 Lok Sabha seats of east UP that will be crucial in regaining power at the Centre, Modi said the NDA government had launched several development and welfare schemes to give thrust to development in the region.

“The projects will pave way for development of Purvanchal that remained neglected under the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) governments,” he said.

The prestige of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be at stake as its top leaders, including PM Narendra Modi, Kalraj Mishra, Manoj Sinha, Varun Gandhi, Mahendra Nath Pandey and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath come from this region.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had swept this region by grabbing all the seats except Azamgarh that went into the SP’s kitty. The Congress won two while the BSP failed to open its account.

As the BJP plans to bag maximum seats from the region, various development and welfare schemes have been announced during public meetings in PM’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, located on the southern tip of Purvanchal, and Gorakhpur that is located in the north.

With the SP-BSP combine and the Congress also shifting their focus on Purvanchal, the BJP is going all out to win maximum support from the region.

The SP-BSP alliance has shared equal number of seats in Purvanchal to give a tough fight to BJP.

Once a strong fort of alliance partners, the BJP made inroads into their vote base in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

SP leader Shivram Yadav said, “Riding on Dalit-Backwards-Muslim formula, the alliance hopes to check the BJP.”

The Congress has appointed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as its general secretary for east UP. The region had played a major role in the formation of UPA government in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

In 2014, Congress was wiped out in Purvanchal which was its stronghold since Independence.

Congress has also appointed three secretaries – Zubair Khan, Kumar Ashish and Bajirao Khade – to assist Priyanka in the battle of ballot. The party plans to win over upper castes, Dalits and Muslims that were its traditional vote base.

That the BJP is concerned over the SP-BSP alliance as well as Congress’s Purvanchal plan can be gauged from the fact that during their address both the PM as well as the CM highlighted the government’s development schemes and attacked the opposition parties.

Modi said the BJP government strengthened health facilities in the region, restarted fertiliser factory, electrified rail routes, started manufacturing of railway engine in Varanasi and Gorakhpur to pave way for prosperity in the area.

Political analyst AK Mishra said, “To retain the BJP’s hold on Purvanchal region, Modi launched PM-KISAN Scheme in Gorakhpur. Purvanchal region is the agriculture hub of the state and the support of farmers will play a decisive role in elections. The SP-BSP alliance is working on caste equations to win the election while Congress is depending on the magic of Priyanka Gandhi. Besides YogiModi charisma, BJP is playing Purvanchal development card to win the election.”

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 11:54 IST