Amid World Cup fever, U.P. parties vie to take credit for stadium, target each other 

SP says stadium was built during their regime while BSP credits their government for acquiring land for it; BJP flays both parties

October 29, 2023 10:01 pm | Updated 10:39 pm IST - Lucknow

Fireworks inside the Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on October 29, 2023 after India’s victory against England.

Fireworks inside the Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on October 29, 2023 after India’s victory against England. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Amid the World Cup match between India and England at the Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday, a political ‘match’ played out away from the floodlights, as major parties in the State competed with each other to take credit for the stadium.

The ‘game’ began when Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav said the arena became a reality during the government led by him. “The SP built a world-class cricket stadium in Lucknow... where the World Cup match is being held today. We hope the BJP government of Uttar Pradesh also makes world-class traffic arrangements for this, so that players and spectators do not face any inconvenience,” said Mr. Yadav. Targeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Mr. Yadav said he had “taken credit for someone else’s work” but the public knows “who actually did the construction, whose symbol is the the bicycle”.

Incidentally, the stadium was initially named Ekana International Cricket Stadium, before Mr. Adityanath rechristened it. Before the match started, a two-kilometre-long traffic jam was witnessed on the road leading to the venue, with many people questioning the traffic arrangements for the high-profile match.

BSP enters the game

Not to be left behind, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) credited its supremo Mayawati for kick-starting the project. “Parties are queuing up to take credit for the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow today. But the public knows that to promote sports, stadiums were built in every district during Behenji’s [Mayawati] government. Remember that the land for this international stadium was also acquired during the respected Mayawatiji’s government. The BSP believes in progress and development, and this is our identity,” wrote Akash Anand, the national coordinator of the BSP on X (formerly Twitter).

The BJP hit back calling the Opposition parties “self-obsessed”. “What more can we say. People like Akhilesh Yadav have a tendency to showcase unfinished works through propaganda. If these people have done so much work, why have voters rejected them in every election since 2014? Look at the margin of their defeat in all the elections, people will not be lured by these leaders in 2024 Lok Sabha election,” said Manish Shukla, U.P. BJP spokesperson.

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