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Sorry BJP & SP, it doesn't matter who started it – but the Lucknow Metro is already not working

Atul Chandra | Updated on: 6 September 2017, 18:57 IST
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, UP Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union housing and urban development minister Hardeep Singh Puri light the lamp at the inaugural function of the Lucknow Metro, in Lucknow on Tuesday. (Nand Kumar/PTI)

Lucknow Metro was launched a second time on Tuesday in less than a year. And a day after the launch, the metro hit a snag for over an hour, trapping hundreds of passengers. 

The Tuesday launch was followed by former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav poking fun at the ruling BJP for claiming credit for the completion of the three-year project in record time – less than three years. 

Who actually deserves the credit?

Akhilesh Yadav had flagged off the train on 1 December 2016.

To emphasise the point the former chief minister tweeted on Tuesday, “Engine to pehle hi chal diya tha, dibbe to peechhe aane hi the.”

He also posted a photograph of himself with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mohammad Azam Khan and wife Dimple enjoying the inaugural ride and talking to the two women drivers.

On Tuesday Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was not invited by Akhilesh for the 1 December launch, Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and a host of other ministers flagged off a full train on its first commercial journey from Transport Nagar to the Charbagh railway station, with the VIPs buying smart cards.

Akhilesh was criticised for being in a hurry to inaugurate incomplete projects to score brownie points before the state Assembly elections. Like the Metro, he had inaugurated the Lucknow-Agra Expressway even before it was fully operational.

An invite was sent to Akhilesh for the flag off, but he chose to skip the event.

This one-upmanship about who actually gave Lucknow the metro was not restricted to Twitter alone.

It extended to the newspapers with two different advertisements appearing in an English daily. A full-page ad by an Akhilesh loyalist read, “Lucknow will now travel in former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s dream Metro,” giving entire credit for the metro to the Samajwadi Party’s national president.

The government, however, appeared to avoid the rhetoric war. A slightly smaller ad by the state government’s Directorate of Information and Public Relations simply said – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas as it announced the inauguration of the rapid transport system.

The campaign that was

Akhilesh had entered the electoral battle with the slogan “Kaam Bolta Hai (performance speaks)” which did not cut it with the people.

After Tuesday’s flag off, the BJP took a dig at Akhilesh by saying – “Janata kee Metro janta ko samarpit: Ab nahee poochhna padega kahaan hai Metro, kahaan milega tikat (People’s Metro dedicated to people: Now one won’t have to ask where’s the Metro and where can one buy its ticket).”

A BJP spokesperson said that it was due to the combined efforts of the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government of Yogi Adityanath that an incomplete project could be completed before time.

Without naming Akhilesh, the spokesperson said that some Opposition members were indulging in petty politics instead of participating in this happy event.

Calling it a fraud, the spokesperson said that the metro was inaugurated on paper as in reality there was neither the train nor were its tickets available.

During the campaign for 2017 elections, the BJP had questioned the Akhilesh government about the delay in completion of the project and dubbed him as a CM who was in a hurry to inaugurate unfinished projects.

Akhilesh rebutted the charge with the explanation that the delay happened because of the Centre which did not allow the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety to clear the project.

However, Akshilesh did have the last laugh as the metro service hit a snag on the the first day of it functioning post the inauguration. Hundreds of commuters were stuck and had to be rescued.

The police even resorted to lathicharge on Samajwadi Party workers at at Transport Nagar shortly after the incident.

Akhilesh tweeted –

The Samajwadi Party would now keenly watch the speed at which the Yogi government is able to bring in Metro in Kanpur, Allahabad, Jhansi, Meerut, Agra, Varanasi, and Meerut. Already, Adityanath has sought the guidance of Metro Man E Sreedharan for the upcoming projects.

As both the parties sparred over who should be given credit for the realisation of Lucknow’s dream project, no mention was made of former Chief Minister Mayawati who had initiated the project in the first place. Twice she sent detailed project reports to the Centre but the then UPA government ignored it.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 6 September 2017, 18:57 IST
 
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