RAIPUR: With the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls barely a few months away, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aspiring for the fourth-consecutive term is milking the name of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The former Prime Minister was once the BJP’s poster boy in Chhattisgarh where the party wrested power from the Congress in 2003.
Now, with elections looming large, the Raman Singh government has gone on a renaming spree and named projects, places, plans and institutions after Vajpayee. The government’s most ambitious project, the new integrated greenfield capital city ‘Naya Raipur’ will now be known as ‘Atal Nagar’.
Among the series of announcements to ‘honour’ Vajpayee’s memory a couple of new medical colleges and Bilaspur University will be named after Vajpayee.
“Atalji occupies a revered place in the hearts of Chhattisgarh’s populace and he will remain in our collective memory as the founder of the state,” said Chief Minister Singh.
A condolence meeting will be organised in every gram panchayat from September 12 to 30 and BJP cadres will go from door to door in all 90 Assembly segments to collect soil as part of an ‘Atal Vikas Doot programme’.
The collected soil will then be used in statues of Vajpayee that will be installed in the headquarters of all 27 districts and the memorial at Naya Raipur. The only expressway in Raipur to be inaugurated shortly would be called ‘Atal path’.
During the annual state foundation day - Rajyotsav, a new award would be declared as
Atal Sushashan (good governance) Puruskar to be given to the nominated janpad, district panchayats and municipal corporations.
The life of Vajpayee and his poems will be incorporated in school textbooks and chief minister’s second phase of upcoming vikas yatra has been renamed as Atal Vikas Yatra. And a state-of-the art auditorium in the state’s biggest health facility centre Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Medical Hospital was inaugurated in his name recently.
Also, the second leg of the government’s month-long ‘Vikas Yatra’, which was launched by party president Amit Shah at Dongargarh on September 5, has been rechristened as ‘Atal Vikas Yatra’ to cover at least 65 constituencies and is seen as a election yatra.
The idea of the yatra is to woo people with flagship schemes, development initiatives and welfare programmes launched by the state government and even freebies.
During the launch of Atal Vikas Yatra at Dongargarh on Wednesday, Shah eulogised Vajpayee for creating Chhattisgarh and asked the people to vote for BJP if they wish to be the state of Atal’s dreams.
Singh has also formulated a vision document called
‘Atal Drishti Patra’ for ‘New Chhattisgarh-2025’ (Nava Chhattisgarh) Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several union ministers and chief ministers of other states are likely to attend the yatra in coming weeks.
The opposition Congress stated that the BJP government was merely doing all this for electoral gains and will lodge a complaint with the Election Commission if the Atal Vikas Yatra is used as a campaigning tool by the BJP.