Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | I.N.D.I.A.'s Ujjwal Singh says under BJP, Allahabad lost importance, local woes not addressed

The 51-year-old Ujjwal Raman Singh is a former MLA from the Karchhana seat in Prayagraj district and a Congress candidate from the Allahabad seat. His father Rewati Raman Singh is a veteran Samajwadi Party leader and two-term Allahabad MP.
Last Updated : 24 May 2024, 07:31 IST
Last Updated : 24 May 2024, 07:31 IST

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Prayagraj: It's a sweltering afternoon in the remote Meja block that falls in the Doab region of Allahabad at Uttar Pradesh's border with Madhya Pradesh. Scores of villagers, including women and children, have gathered outside Khoota village under a tent.

Soon, a convoy of SUVs arrives with workers of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress led by I.N.D.I.A. bloc candidate Ujjwal Raman Singh. Singh alights from his Toyota Fortuner and exchanges pleasantries with villagers and local party workers before taking the microphone to address the crowd.

"What do the farmers want? Electricity, tubewell, and lift canal so that they get water for their crops. The BJP keeps boasting of its double-engine government and does nothing on the ground," Singh said, adding that the local MP, the state's CM and the country's PM are all from the BJP yet the party has failed to ensure the welfare of the people of the constituency.

"Bhartiya Janata Party ke logan ki neeti aur niyat saaf naahi ba (The BJP people do not have a clear policy and intention)," Singh said in the local 'Ilahabadi' dialect.

After halting for around half an hour, Singh's convoy moved onwards to Khiri and a couple of other villages. He went around on foot meeting locals, recognising several of them by their names, even as the mercury showed no signs of plummeting.

The 51-year-old Ujjwal Raman Singh is a former MLA from the Karchhana seat in Prayagraj district and a Congress candidate from the Allahabad seat. His father Rewati Raman Singh is a veteran Samajwadi Party leader and two-term Allahabad MP.

Allahabad Lok Sabha seat falls in Prayagraj and has over 18 lakh voters, a large part of which resides in the rural areas beyond the Yamuna. Another Lok Sabha seat in the district is the Phulpur constituency, which includes the region around the Ganga.

"My issues are local and pertain to the fact that the importance of Allahabad is reducing day by day. The BJP people say that it is a double-engine government but if you look the government offices have been relocated from Allahabad to Lucknow, it has reduced the importance of Allahabad," Singh told PTI during his election campaign.

He said the second important issue is the industrial area of Naini for which the BJP had assured the revival of industries and starting new ones, but to date, nothing of that sort has happened.

He listed the third biggest problem here as health care facilities and said that due to the unavailability of AIIMS in Allahabad people from the lower and middle class face a lot of hardships.

"People lose their lives due to lack of treatment and families end up spending a lot of money too," Singh added.

The BJP had fielded Neeraj Tripathi from the Allahabad Lok Sabha seat, replacing Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Neeraj Tripathi is the son of BJP leader and former West Bengal Governor late Kesari Nath Tripathi.

Singh, who recently switched from the Samajwadi Party to the Congress, said today a big city like Allahabad requires an Information Technology (IT) Park, an international-level stadium, and a metro rail service while its rural areas need adequate water supply for irrigation.

"I believe all these issues are relevant and pertaining to Allahabad. And in the last 10 years, the BJP has done nothing on these issues. The people are affected by it, the people are worried and that is why they want a change this time," he told PTI.

Singh accused the BJP -- whose MPs Shyama Charan Gupta and Joshi represented Allahabad from 2014 to 2024 -- of ignoring the constituency for a decade.

"I believe if they had paid attention, a lot of work could have happened since now they had governments both in Delhi and in Lucknow. Allahabad of late has been lagging behind others. Allahabad is now known as a sleepy town," he said.

He said SP leader late Janeshwar Mishra had proposed an oil refinery in Allahabad in 1996 but nothing happened for it. Former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had approved three power plants for this region, two of them are functional now but "BJP does not want the third one in Karchhana to start operation", he claimed.

"There is prejudice, step behaviour with Allahabad. They do not want to see Allahabad progress. The industries here were all set up during the Congress' regime in the Naini industrial area. I feel it's a continuous injustice by BJP (towards Allahabad)," he said.

If elected as MP, he said among his priorities would be to save the Ganga River.

"It's not a matter of event management for us, it's a matter of our faith and our existence," he said, raising concerns over the pollution in the holy river.

Asked about political observers seeing the election in Allahabad as a fight between two political legacies -- Singh's father Rewati Raman Singh and BJP candidate Neeraj Tripathi's father Kesari Nath Tripathi -- he said it is not a question of legacy but of ideological battle between two parties, their programmes and policies.

"The BJP is not fighting on the things that they have done... What the BJP is doing is divisive politics, dividing people on religious and other lines. I don't think this is beneficial for the country," Singh said.

"The BJP is not harping on development issues or real issues, which are unemployment, price rise. These are the issues concerning the common man cutting across states. The people are distressed, they are not happy," he added.

During his campaigns, Singh also highlighted issues like exam paper leaks, stray cattle in rural areas, reservation in government jobs and welfare schemes.

Allahabad constituency goes to polls on May 25.

Published 24 May 2024, 07:31 IST

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