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DENYING THE Opposition’s allegations that his free smartphone scheme was a poll sop, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said he was not bribing voters, and claimed that the scheme was an effort to bridge the gap between the government and people with the help of technology.
BJP MP from Meerut, Rajendra Agrawal, on Wednesday moved the Election Commission against Akhilesh’s announcement of providing free smartphones to the poor before Assembly polls next year, claiming that it violates the model code of conduct. In his letter, Agrawal has appealed the ECI to take cognizance of the announcement, and initiate prohibitory action against the registration of the smartphone distribution scheme.
“I am not bribing any one, but they have alleged so as they are left with no issue. The intention is to give as much facilities as possible,” Akhilesh said at a function in Lucknow. The CM said the government faces a major challenge in creating awareness among the masses about its schemes, and people too face problems when they want to know what the government was doing for them. “The smartphone technology will bridge this gap between the government and public,” he claimed.
An app on the smartphone will provide people information about the state government’s schemes through audio-visual media and text. Registration for the smartphones would begin in a month and distribution would start in the latter half of 2017, if the SP wins the elections due early next year. Akhilesh said he had faced allegations that people did not get benefit from his laptop distribution scheme (part of SP’s poll promise in 2012). “I am going to hold a programme soon in which I will invite 50 students who were the first to get laptops. I will ask them what change has come in their life by using those,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Akhilesh laid foundation stone for ‘Urdu Darwaza’ in Deoband, a project of UP Urdu Academy and will be built in memory of Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Hind who was a freedom fighter. Urdu Academy chairman Nawaz Deobandi said the Urdu Darwaza project will be completed in two months and the CM will dedicate it to public. He also launched the second phase of the Agra Inner Ring Road (from Fatehabad to Deori Road) project, a 50-bedded eye hospital in Bidhuna of Auraiya district, a 100-bedded hospital in Unnao district, a 50-bedded womens’ hospital in Varanasi, a 100-bedded hospital in Bulandshahr, and two hospitals with 50 beds each in Lucknow and Meerut. Akhilesh said he was expecting his officials to ensure that these projects were completed on time.
Explaining his government’s balancing act to benefit both communities, the CM said his government has given assistance to Hindu Sansthan, as well as the UP Urdu Academy. Similarly, he said “if the SP government has helped to develop Haj House, it has also worked for development of ‘Bhajan Sthal’ in Faizabad and Chitrakoot”.
Referring to the Agra Inner Ring Road, Akhilesh said that traffic congestion is a major problem in cities, and hinted at bringing a scheme to resolve traffic-related issues in its election manifesto. Cabinet minister Azam Khan, who was present on the occasion, said the Urdu Darwaza in Deoband is the first such project to be inaugurated by CM, while another such Darwaza has already been developed in his home district Rampur on the proposal of Nawaz Deobandi.