Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday showered praises on UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for “dexterously tackling the Covid-19 pandemic” in the country’s most populous state.
Addressing a public meeting in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, Modi said UP’s population was greater than several big nations, yet Adityanath and his team “performed exceedingly well to bend the coronavirus curve amid overwhelming challenges during the second wave”.
The PM’s remarks lay to rest murmurs of a purported thaw in the relationship between Modi and Yogi over the latter’s alleged Covid mismanagement in the state, and his style of functioning. Speaking in Varanasi, Modi urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and said although the positivity rate had slowed down, the danger was far from over as had been witnessed in some countries. “Everyone should get vaccinated and follow all safety protocols,” he said.
ALSO READ: Why are Covid vaccination rates low in India and vary across states?
The PM inaugurated various development projects and laid the foundation of some others, including an international convention centre with a seating capacity of 1,200. The combined value of all these projects is Rs 1,583 crore.
Speaking at the IIT-BHU ground, Modi said while projects worth more than Rs 10,000 crore had already been dedicated to the people of Varanasi, additional ones worth Rs 8,000 crore were underway in the temple town.
Modi said the positive turnaround in UP happened due to the unflinching focus of the Adityanath government on improving infrastructure, roads, railways, highways, etc. “The development of this infrastructure will not only improve the quality of life, but provide a conducive environment for businesses to thrive,” he said.
Modi recalled all flagship infra projects in UP, namely Defence Corridor, Purvanchal Expressway, Bundelkhand Expressway, Gorakhpur Link Expressway, Ganga Expressway, etc., which, he said, would take the state to the pinnacle in the coming decade.
Meanwhile, making an informal electoral pitch for the high-stake 2022 UP assembly polls, Modi firmly defended the new farm laws, citing record procurement of foodgrains to drive home his pro-farmer narrative. Modi said the Centre was working to improve the government procurement system and give more agri marketing options to farmers.