What's new in Purvanchal in 2019: Development board, Priyanka Gandhi and SP-BSP alliance
Bengaluru Mar 12: The political battle in Purvanchal has become closely watched contest in the country after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been appointed General Secretary Uttar Pradesh (East). Purvanchal is going to polls in the 7th and last phase of the elections on May 19.
There are 22 districts in the Purvanchal region known for fertile rice-growing plains, dense population, communal polarization and under-development.
In 2014, Purvanchal was swept away by the Modi wave. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) were nowhere in the picture and Congress led by Rahul Gandhi was clueless. In 2019, the BJP has enough issues in its arsenal such as IAF strike after Pulwama attack, Ayodhya dispute and 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections of the society. Yet, political ambience is not completely in BJP's favour as the SP-BSP alliance will take on the mighty BJP.
With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, local organisations had been demanding separate statehood for Bundelkhand and Purvanchal with renewed fervour. But, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has contained the discontent to some extent in 2018. The UP Cabinet constituted separate development boards for the Purvanchal and Bundelkhand regions, both of which chaired by the Chief Minister.
Before the Election Commission announced poll dates, Yogi Adityanath appointed a former Congress-loyalist Dr. Dayashankar Mishra 'Dayalu' as vice-president of Purvanchal Development Board. In fact, Dr. Mishra had joined the BJP in 2014 and before the 2019 elections he has been appointed to Purvanchal Development Board.
According to Avanindra Singh, who runs a news portal in Varanasi, "Out of 22 only three districts have received much attention the region. PM Modi's Varanasi/Banares, Union Minister Manoj Sinha's Ghazipur and Anupriya Patel's Mirzapur have received a lot of attention as far as development is concerned."
"Also, Dr. Dayashankar Mishra 'Dayalu' has been appointed vice-president of Purvanchal Development Board before the elections." He further said that though Congress yet to make significant progress in the region, but old Congress workers have come together after Priyanka's entry.
"Priyanka Gandhi has won the hearts of people by calling off her maiden press conference after the Pulwama attack. Her rapport with people in the region is improving. In the last general elections, there was discontent among party workers. Old Congress workers have come together, " said Avanindra Singh.
News is doing rounds that former Congress MP Rajesh Mishra likely to be Congress candidate from Varanasi, however, the party still hasn't announced the candidate.