“It is unfortunate that contributions of many icons towards nation building were ignored for decades by earlier regimes. But today Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji is being given the importance he truly deserves,” the PM said.
Laying the foundation stone for a university, the PM said UP has enjoyed ‘double-engine growth’
BJP has long rued that Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has not done enough to honour the memory of Jat king Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh who donated a portion of the land in which AMU is set up.
The decision to set up the university — which will span over 92 acres and provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division — is also being seen by many as an effort to appease the Jat community that has been present in large numbers during the ongoing farmers’ protest against farm laws.
Jats, many of them on the dais as leaders, recently organised a well-attended kisan mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar, with Aligarh next door and a part of the west UP neighbourhood. The community could sway elections in several constituencies as it adds up to about 17% of the population in 26 districts of west UP, accounting for 136 of 403 assembly seats.
Modi touched upon farmers’ issues in his 40-minute speech. “Eight of 10 farmers in India have a small piece of land, measuring two hectares or less. The Centre is making continuous efforts to empower them and stand with them as partners,” he said, while highlighting schemes rolled out by the government such as minimum support price, kisan credit cards and crop insurance for farmers. He said the UP government has worked towards resolving issues of cane farmers for the past four years.
The PM praised CM Yogi Adityanath’s efforts to “end mafia raj” and put UP on the path of development. “Till 2017, UP was infamous for its mafia raj, with gangsters and gundas having a free run. But Yogi ji has ended all this and put gangsters in the place where they belong — jail,” he said. Taking a jibe at the opposition, he said that people “cannot forget the scams that took place before BJP came to power”. Modi said earlier there were roadblocks in the implementation of welfare schemes meant for the poor, but the “double-engine government” – led by BJP in the state and at the Centre – had led to “double benefits”.
The PM also inaugurated the Aligarh node of the UP Defence Industrial Corridor. The establishment of the corridor was announced in 2018.