Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has pressed the fast-forward button and embarked on an election mode. Yadav is now racing against time to ensure the completion of his dream projects  ahead of his campaign. Though Akhilesh Yadav was sworn in as the Chief Minister on 15 March 2012, the next government in Uttar Pradesh has to be formed before 28 May 2017 when the first sitting of the Assembly took place in the Akhilesh Yadav regime.

However, Yadav wants the elections to be advanced by two months and held in January-February next year. UP Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan has already asked officers to keep in mind that the polls will be held during this period because polls in April-May are not feasible due to the board examinations and the inability of the teachers to manage examinations and elections at the same time. The state government is also worried that if polls are held in the summer months, the issue of power crisis will loom large and adversely affect the ruling party.

“Things have started improving for the ruling Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav now seems to be in command of the situation. We will be contesting the polls under his leadership and it is he who will decide the tone and tenor of the campaign. This emerging feeling of euphoria can be sustained for the next few months and we need to have elections during this period,” said a minister known for his proximity to the Chief Minister.

Akhilesh Yadav has already made it clear to the bureaucracy that he wants the completion of all projects by September so that inaugurations can be done by October. His dream projects include the Lucknow-Agra Expressway that extends from Lucknow to Agra and passes through Hardoi, Unnao, Kanpur, Kannauj, Aurraiyya, Etawah, Mainpuri and Ferozabad — all districts are known to be Samajwadi strongholds. The 302 km long expressway is estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore and is scheduled to be completed by October 2016. Work is continuing on a war footing.

The government simultaneously plans to develop agricultural “mandis” along the expressway and provide faster transport facilities for agricultural produce, handicrafts and small industries that are loacted along the route. Akhilesh Yadav, sources said, is personally monitoring the progress in the project on a weekly basis.  Another pet project of the Chief Minister, rather of his wife and SP MP, Dimple Yadav, is the women’s power line 1090, which is now being converted into a centralised helpline for women in distress for the entire state. This is one project that the Chief Minister proudly shows to all his celebrity guests and any complaints in its functioning are promptly dealt with.

Work on the Chak Gajaria IT City project  and the adjoining projects that include a cancer institute, Amul milk plant and HCL is also being speeded up. Akhilesh Yadav wants to showcase these projects as the biggest achievements of his government and wants the people, particularly the youth, to realise the advantage of his brand of development on the eve of the elections. “There is no doubt that development is going to be our biggest  poll plank and these projects will serve as proof of the fact that the Akhilesh Yadav government has done maximum development in a limited time. We have put the state back on the rails. We will not depend on publicity alone, but will show the people what we have done for them,” said UP minister Arvind Singh Gope.

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