The pictures of Prime Minister Modi with his hand around the shoulders of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath went viral on social media on Sunday (Image source: @myogiadityanath)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today lay the foundation stone for the Noida International Airport in Jewar, in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Noida.
This will be PM Modi’s first public event in Western Uttar Pradesh days after he announced that his government will withdraw the three controversial farm laws that had led to protests by farmers across the country.
Western Uttar Pradesh was one of the epicenters of the protest demanding the rollback of the three laws.
READ: PM Modi to lay foundation stone for Jewar airport today: All you need to know
PM Modi announced on November 19 the decision to repeal the three central farm laws. The timing of the announcement – months ahead of Uttar Pradesh polls – received flak from Opposition leaders who alleged that the decision was taken with electoral gains
“The development of the airport is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Modi to boost connectivity and create a future-ready aviation sector, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a press statement on November 23.
The upcoming airport in Jewar is considered one of the key infrastructure projects of the Yogi Adityanath government in the poll-bound state. It was among the significant promises made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which is eyeing a return to power in Uttar Pradesh in next year's assembly elections.
Though the elections will be held in five states next year, Uttar Pradesh is considered politically most significant for the BJP, for the 403 seats that it has and the subsequent implication it has on the 2024 general elections.
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While the foundation stone of the airport is being laid ahead of UP assembly polls, the airport (one runway) will start operating in 2024 before the general elections. The international airport, second in Delhi-NCR and fifth in Uttar Pradesh, is touted to become the biggest airport in the country upon completion.
Pre-poll inauguration spree
In the last few weeks, the BJP government has been trying to make an infrastructural push through a series of announcements of developmental projects across the state in the the run up to polls.
On November 16, PM Modi inaugurated the 341-km long Purvanchal Expressway at Karwal Kheri in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district. On November 19, the day the repeal decision was announced, Modi inaugurated or laid the foundations of multiple development projects worth over Rs 3,425 crore to expedite the growth of the economically backward Bundelkhand region of the state.
The spree of inaugurations is being seen as BJP’s attempt to portray the ‘development’ agenda that its ‘double-engine' government (BJP in power at the Centre and in the state) has been following.
“While the opposition is busy in trivial issues, our government is focusing on development as promised,” said a BJP leader.
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The twin pictures of Prime Minister Modi with his hand around the shoulders of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that went viral on social media this past weekend was a message to this effect. The picture tweeted by Yogi Adityanath showed the Chief Minister had the Prime Minister’s backing, the leader said.
"We have embarked on a journey. We have dedicated our everything and pledged to build a new India which will touch the heights beyond the sky with new light," Adityanath wrote in the tweet with the pictures.
Also, read: Will Jewar airport change the fortunes of Yamuna Expressway and Greater Noida real estate markets?
According to the PMO, the Noida International Airport is strategically located and will serve the people of cities including Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Agra, Faridabad and neighbouring areas. The state government has said that the project will lead to the generation of employment for lakhs of people.
Opposition parties questioned the timing of the Jewar event. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to Twitter and accused BJP of acquiring land of farmers to build the airport.
"Compensation is the right of farmers. Narendra Modi ji, if your intentions with respect to farmers are honest, then don't leave the farmers homeless to fulfill your electoral ambitions," she said in a tweet in Hindi. Many Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders also shared posters related to Jewar airport criticising the Union government and Prime Minister Modi.