LUCKNOW: Strategically decided the venue and the date of inauguration of Meerut-Delhi eastern peripheral expressway just a day before neighbouring Kairana parliamentary constituency goes to crucial bypolls, BJP organised a mega event featuring PM Narendra Modi as chief guest who addressed a mammoth rally in Bhaghpat on Sunday.
Immediately after inaugurating the prestigious 135-km, 16-lane expressway constructed in a record time of 17 months at the cost of Rs 11000 crore, the PM hit the open area waving to huge crowd present in and around the venue an embarked upon a road show for a couple of kilometres. He then took a chopper to Baghpat to address a public meeting.
Addressing a huge gathering, PM Modi took a swipe at opposition and obliquely targeted the Congress party covertly claiming that for those who worship one family, they can't worship the democracy. For them, he claimed, whole country is limited to the family only. "Moreover, in the zeal to oppose and condemn Modi they have gone to the extent of condemning the nation," said the PM hinting at Congress party. The PM maintained that for them a family was country whereas for him the country was one family.
With Kairana in mind, the PM, on one hand, took on the Opposition and said that their leaders were spreading rumours and lies, on the other, he subtly touched all the relevant issues dominating the sugar belt of Uttar Pradesh ranging from law and order to Dalits and farmers.
Appealing the people not to attach credence to the rumours being spread by the opposition that farms given on contract farming, the PM said: "Sugarcane farmers will get benefit of Rs 5.50 on per quintal of sugarcane... Farmers' money will never get stuck with mill owners. I assure sugarcane farmers, the government is committed to their welfare."
All praise for UP CM Yogi Adityanath, the PM expressed satisfaction on the law and order scenario of UP where criminals were either surrendering on their own or making their way out of state. He also praised the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath saying law and order in the state has improved and criminals are now surrendering on their own.
He even launched a scathing attack on the opposition for spreading "lies and rumours" on matters ranging from dilution of anti-Dalit atrocities law. "People have seen how they are spreading lies over an order of the Supreme Court for their narrow political gains," Modi said, referring to an order of the apex court on the verdict on SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The verdict has been seen, by many, as a dilution of the Act and the government made special efforts to counter such a narrative, he said.
Counting the steps taken to safeguard the rights of Dalits, Modi claimed his government had made law on atrocities stricter. "Special courts have been constituted for fast-track hearing of cases of Dalit atrocities," he added.
The government has constituted a commission for sub-categorisation of OBCs and promised to give reservation to most backward classes in educational institutions and government jobs in a time-bound manner, he said.
Reiterating his government's commitment to infrastructural advancement of the country, the PM claimed that built in record time, eastern peripheral expressway would not only ease out the traffic congestion between Meerut and Delhi but would also reduce the travel time of the daily commuters of Delhi and NCR. "The expressway will be of great help inbringing down the pollution level of the national capital region," he stated.
Flanked by union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari, the PM highlighted the ‘vikas’ agenda saying that Rs 3 lakh crore were spent in last three years to build 28,000-km highways. "Our govt is constructing 27 km road daily."
Infrastructure does not differentiate on the basis caste, creed, religion and economic status, the PM said.
He also talked about the flagship 'Make in India' campaign and how it had given a push to the manufacturing sector. Giving an example, he said that now there are 120 mobile phone manufacturing factories in India as compared to only 2, four years back.
In fact, the inauguration of th expressway came a fortnight after the Supreme Court on May 10 had directed the NHAI to throw it open for the public by May 31. The apex court had said that if it was not inaugurated on or before May 31, it should be thrown open for the public who were facing traffic congestion in Delhi.
The 135-km EPE has been built at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore in a record 500 days. The six-lane expressway has 406 structures of which 4 are major bridges, 46 minor bridges, 3 flyovers, 7 inter-changes, 221 underpasses and 8 road over bridges (ROBs). The amenities include retail fuel outlets, rest rooms, motels, restaurants, shops etc.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to PM's rally, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said: "People of Baghpat, Meerut, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor know how much amount is still due to farmers for sugarcane. Doing a road show won't make farmers get their outstanding amount. The Eastern Peripheral Expressway was also inaugurated only after the Supreme Court order."
Apprehending PM's influence on Kairana voters, RLD had well approached the election commission two days back seeking cancellation of the rally but their please was rejected.