With his eyes set on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday embark on a two-day tour of eastern Uttar Pradesh, where he will inaugurate and lay the foundation for several key projects, prime among them being the Purvanchal Expressway.
Mr. Modi will visit Azamgarh, Mirzapur and his Parliamentary constituency Varanasi during the tour. In Azamgarh, he will lay the foundation stone of the 340-km long Purvanchal Expressway, stretching from the state capital to Ghazipur on the eastern fringes bordering Bihar.
The six-lane road will pass through Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh and Mau before ending in Ghazipur. The expressway is to be linked with Varanasi through a separate link road, said the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority. The state expects to complete the project, dubbed as the longest Expressway in the country, by 2021.
Earlier this week, the state Cabinet approved the various proposals submitted by the shortlisted builders for the difference packages of the expressway. It is being built through the EPC model--engineering, procurement and construction.
Like the 302-km long Lucknow-Agra Expressway, the Purvanchal Expressway will also feature an airstrip for emergency landing of fighter planes, near Sultanpur district. “The Purvanchal Expressway will be the lifeline of development in eastern UP,” said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
While the Expressway extends from Lucknow to Ghazipur, the BJP government's decision to lay the foundation stone in Azamgarh is being viewed with curiousity as it is the Lok Sabha seat of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh. With Mr. Singh making it open that he would contest the next poll from his traditional seat Mainpuri, the BJP is working to regain lost ground in Azamgarh, which is among the three main centres of east UP along with Varanasi and Gorakhpur.
In Varanasi, Mr. Modi will dedicate or lay the foundation stone of important projects with a total worth of over ₹900 crore, the PMO said. These would include the Varanasi City Gas Distribution Project, Varanasi-Ballia EMU train, International Convention Centre, the Panchkoshi Parikrama Marg, and several projects under the Smart City Mission and Namaami Gange.
On Sunday, Mr. Modi will dedicate to the nation the Bansagar Canal Project, a bridge over the Ganga in Chunar and a medical college, all in Mirzapur district.
Mr. Modi’s visit will come amid heightened activity of the BJP in UP with the 2019 polls in mind. While last month, Mr. Modi laid the foundation of an academy dedicated to Sant Kabir in Maghar , on July 21 he is expected to address a farmers rally in Shahjahanpur district.
Later this month, the PM could also attend a conference of the Union Urban Development Ministry in Lucknow.