Removal of Akhilesh posters in Ahmedabad hurts UP sentimenthttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/removal-of-akhilesh-posters-in-ahmedabad-hurts-up-sentiment/

Removal of Akhilesh posters in Ahmedabad hurts UP sentiment

Over 150 NRIs of UP-origin have registered for participation in the event.

UP government hoardings lying in Ahmedabad.
UP government hoardings lying in Ahmedabad.

The Uttar Pradesh government Tuesday expressed its resentment over the removal of “UP Rising” hoardings carrying Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s photograph that it had put up in Ahmedabad. It termed the act as “not a healthy trend” in welcoming the guests.

“When Chinese President (Xi Jinping) is welcome in Gujarat, why not UP CM and its NRI department?” asked Madhukar Jatley, advisor, NRI Department of UP, here Tuesday, adding, “We have raised the issue of removal of hoardings from Ahmedabad with concerned authorities. But we have not lodged any FIR in this connection”.

He was referring to the removal of posters and hoardings with the message “UP Rising” from areas like C G Road, Ashram and Airport promoting UP as preferred investment destination — an aggressive marketing strategy by the Samajwadi Party against its arch rival BJP, whose government is hosting the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit 2015 this week.

As many as 15 heads of department will be coming to Gujarat and Akhilesh will address a seminar to woo NRIs at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas on January 9. UP is one of the co-partners of the three-day event. Jatley said, “We have just come here, and we are trying to tell the investors about UP.”

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While 14 chief ministers are expected at the event, UP was the only state to resort to aggressive marketing plan in Gujarat. Around 60 small hoardings and 40 billboards promoting UP as investment destination had come up in Ahmedabad. Besides, UP government is also aggressively promoting itself on FM channels.

Jatley said Gujarat was best at showcasing itself as an investment destination, “Five metro projects have already been started in UP with a total budget of Rs 2.5 lakh crore, which is nearly equal to the state’s annual budget. But in Gujarat, we are still hearing about one metro project for the last 13 years. It has gained some momentum now. But the push has come from the Centre, and not the state,” he added.

Jetley further said even Varanasi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency) will be connected with metro. “And, about PM cleaning the mess (Ganga clean up project) of Varanasi, it is all a propaganda,” he added.

Even for the Statue of Unity, a project of world’s tallest statue conceptualised by Narendra Modi, he expressed doubts. “To say that Taj Mahal will be replaced by Statue of Unity as symbol of India for foreigners is far fetched. First, the statue should come up,” he said.

The team from UP said that in May 2014, they created a dedicated NRI department owing to the fact that huge chunk of diaspora is from UP. On the lines of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, they are going to have their own Uttar Pradesh NRI Divas from February 28 to March 1 in Agra.

Over 150 NRIs of UP-origin have registered for participation in the event. Led by Akhilesh, the UP government would project its initiatives for the NRIs as well as government’s development agenda, along with one-to-one interactions with the officials.