Lucknow, Apr 21: Known to witness use of money and muscle power for political gains, Uttar Pradesh is now observing a new trend ahead of Assembly elections, that of 'holiday politics'.
In an apparent bid to woo the massive chunk of over 20 lakh government employees, their family members and the Dalit community, the Samajwadi Party government has declared a holiday on December 6, the death anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
With this, the number of official holidays in Uttar Pradesh has reached 37, much to the delight of employees in various government departments.
With 37 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 said.
The Akhilesh Yadav government had earlier declared holiday on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar (April 17), Maharishi Kashyap and Maharshi Nishadraj Jayanti (April 5), and Hazrat Ajmeri Garib Nawaj Urs (April 26) besides others.
The SP government has also declared June 24 as public holiday in UP to mark socialist leader Karpoori Thakur's birth anniversary.
Thakur, former Chief Minister of Bihar, was one of the socialist leaders close to Jaya Prakash Narayan who spearheaded the movement for 'Total Revolution' as well as protests against the Emergency.
Elections for the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly are due in early 2017.