Lucknow, Nov 16: The Uttar Pradesh government has declared public holiday tomorrow on the occasion of 'Chhath', a festival popular in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, taking the number of public holidays to 40 in the state, where assembly elections are due in early 2017.
"A public holiday has been declared by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 'Chhath' on November 17," an official spokesman said here today. With this, the number of official holidays in the state has gone up to 40.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led government has declared a number of additional holidays in last few months, apparently to woo voters belonging to various sections of the society as the state goes to poll in less then 15 months.
The state government had last month declared public holiday on October 31, the birth anniversaries of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Acharya Narendra Dev. "With 40 public holidays a year, there has been a 50 per cent increase in the state government's list of public holidays in the past 10 years," a senior official noted.
The Samajwadi Party government had earlier declared a holiday on December 6, the death anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, which was seen as an attempt to appease Dalits.
The Akhilesh Yadav government had also declared holidays on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Chandrashekhar (April 17), Maharana Pratap (May 9), Maharishi Kashyap and Maharishi Nishadraj Jayanti (April 5), and Hazrat Ajmeri Garib Nawaj Urs (April 26).
The SP government has also declared June 24 as a public holiday in UP to mark socialist leader Karpoori Thakur's birth anniversary.