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Lucknow: Maintaining his silence on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which eight people including four protesting farmers were killed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on to inaugurate 75 developmental projects in the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in Lucknow, to mark the 75th year of independence.
The opposition claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed the ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisaan’ slogan by not even acknowledging the incident.
On Sunday, eight people were killed while farmers were protesting in Lakhimpur Kheri. Farmers have alleged that Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son’s SUV was among those which mowed farmers down, and a murder case has been filed against Ashish Mishra. An angry mob clashed with BJP workers. Several were injured. When Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav tried to reach the spot at Lakhimpur Kheri, he was stopped, as was Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and several others. Lakhimpur Kheri is 130 km from Lucknow and it takes three hours to reach by road.
Questioning the timing of prime minister’s project launching spree, many pointed out that the last-minute rush to launch beneficiary schemes definitely has elections in mind.
Modi launched 75 projects in the ‘Naye Bharat ka Naya Uttar Pradesh’ programme in Lucknow on October 5. Under the Smart City programme, 15 welfare scheme projects worth Rs 1,537.02 crore have been launched. Another 30 welfare projects worth Rs 1,256.22 crore were also launched.
Seventeen projects worth Rs 502.24 crore and 13 projects worth Rs 1,441.70 crore were inaugurated in the Amrit Mission. The official document said that all 75 projects worth Rs 4,737 crore have been launched and inaugurated.
The prime minister inaugurated and launched all these programmes at a three-day function organised by the Uttar Pradesh government called the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ at Indira Gandhi Prathisthan in Lucknow from October 5 to 7.
On October 4, chief minister Yogi Adityanath restructured total dues of people associated with the MGNREGA scheme at every level. The reasonably good raise was termed as a ‘Diwali gift’, while subtly putting forward the point that if Modi and the BJP come back to power, beneficiaries will continue to enjoy such ‘gifts’.
Speaking about the BJP’s scheme launching spree, former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University and social activist Roop Rekha Verma said, “This is so unfortunate. Sadly, education is not available to every Indian. Therefore they are not aware about the correctness of the issues. As a result they are gullible. And the ruling party is using this gullibility of the innocent and unaware people for their advantage. The launching spree technically may not be considered as anything wrong, but morally this is no less than a crime.”
Further, she added, raising the issue of the farmers’ killings and how that is being handled, “This is no less than a jungle raj. One may have disagreements, but no one goes about killing people. Words are failing me. The prime minister has not said a word about the incident. The state of affairs is such that basic law and order is also a huge big task now.”
Meanwhile, Raghav Chadha of the Aam Aadmi Party along with four MLAs from Punjab were detained in Lakhimpur Kheri. Sanjay Singh of the AAP is already under custody.
Speaking about the detentions, AAP spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh Vaibhav Maheshwari said, “This is worse than the British Raj. Lakhimpur Kheri is burning and the prime minister of the country has not uttered a word on it. No tweets, no mention. The prime minister and chief minister are not even acknowledging the incident. The BJP is in celebration mode, it appears.”
The BJP went ahead with the scheduled programme and handed over keys to 75,000 beneficiaries under the PM Awas Yojana.
Despite everything happening at Lakhimpur Kheri, Amirt Mahotsav went ahead as scheduled to talk about the ‘achievements’ of the ruling party.