With the BSP alleging that the Samajwadi Party government was taking credit for infrastructure projects it had launched when it was in power, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday termed Mayawati as SP’s ‘PK’ — referring to election strategist Prashant Kishor.
“Congress has found a PK (Kishor), who is preparing their poll campaign and is building the party… It seems that even we have found our PK in terms of buaji (Mayawati), who claims that she had planned and conceived the projects that we are undertaking,” Akhilesh said during a panel discussion in Lucknow on the 2016-17 state budget organised by UP government and UNICEF.
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“They (BSP) say that Metro is not our project, as it was designed in 2008. But the fact is that the project remained only on paper. They had time till 2012 to take it up. Then they claim that they were the first to undertake construction of expressways in the state… but look at the cost that everyone had to pay — farmers were not happy and the company, which was offered sweeteners, ran into a loss of Rs 60,000 crore. It raises a big question mark on the entire procedure,” said Akhilesh.
With a year to go to state polls, Akhilesh admitted that some promises made in the SP election manifesto have not been fulfiled. “We had promised that we will give two sarees to poor women. After we came to power, we wanted to purchase sarees… Questions were raised when we sat down to finalise the scheme. It became difficult to decide on the colour — while some objected to the colour red, others did not want green… some even objected to the distribution of the sarees,” he said.
Moreover, Akhilesh claimed due to the image of the previous BSP government, the SP had a hard time convincing investors to invest in the Lucknow-Agra expressway project. Initially planned to be developed on a PPP model, the expressway is now being built from government funds, he added.
He went on to target Congress president Sonia Gandhi for not inviting him for the foundation laying ceremony of AIIMS in Rae Bareli. “AIIMS could not be built for five years… we ensured that the land required for the project was handed over in no time…. but they (Congress) forgot us when the time came to lay the foundation stone. I was not invited. So, when they asked for a Sainik School, I asked them to sanction (Sainik School) at two other places — in Mainpuri and Jhansi,” he added.
Akhilesh claimed that recently, the Centre had returned the file for AIIMS in Gorakhpur on the pretext that there is no proper road and electricity. “I have replied saying that we have already given land and would construct a four-lane road and bring about proper electrification. We hope the project is cleared,” he added.
Comparing parks constructed during his and Mayawati’s regimes, Akhilesh said: “It is not possible for people or any filmmaker to visit the parks constructed during the earlier regime in such hot weather…”
Speaking about his initiatives, Akhilesh cited a pilot project being undertaken in Ghazipur district, where a bus service has been just started for local milkmen. “Some milkmen from Ghazipur had approached me and said that they are not allowed to board local trains with their big cans… they say they are looked down upon. Thus, we decided to experiment with an exclusive bus service for milkmen,” he said.