Varanasi, Jan 22 (IECurrentAffairs) The city of ‘poor and middle class’ Varanasi has been “destroyed” in last four and half years and the pilgrim township is losing its spiritual and historic importance, Congress leader Ajay Rai has said here.
Ajay Rai has unsuccessfully contested in Varanasi and was among the losers in a fiercely contested elections in 2014.
“I am not blaming people of Varanasi for all that happened. I am not blaming Narendra Modi for all that but unplanned and hyped development model brought by Modi has brought the destruction. Some bridges are being built….some buildings and some roads but all unplanned,” Mr Rai told UNI here.
He said people of Varanasi had reposed utmost faith in Modi thinking the city will develop, but what they got is only “unplanned development and indiscriminate actions against poor people”.
In this context, he alleged that for the ongoing Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations, all roadside vendors – thelawalas – who survive on daily earning have been removed and asked to stay away for a week. “So imagine what happens with the daily life of these people…..Varanasi always had a humane touch, now that is gone”, he said.
“Ours was a Mohalla culture and Varanasi was a ‘golion ka sheher’ but all that is gone….The Ghomtitala and Neel kanth localities no more exist like they used to be,” he alleged.
Shifting from Gujarat to national politics, as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014, Mr Modi had won Varanasi Lok Sabha seat by defeating his nearest rival Arvind Kejriwal by a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes.
Mr Modi had been polled 5,16,593 votes– about half of the total votes — while Congress’ Ajay Rai, and candidates of BSP and Samajwadi Party were marginalised and humbled.
Mr Rai says he is keen to contest from the constituency yet again but the party has to field him.
“But my issues will be what I am telling you, the unplanned development of Varanasi and many a times a city of holes it has turned out….There is neo rise of corruption also,” the Congress leader said.
Asked to comment on the general political atmosphere in the region and the possible impact of Samajwadi Party and BSP alliance, he said, “Ever since Modi came here, the politics is now to take votes in the name of Prime Minister. BJP has all eight MLAs….none of them are performing but all sought votes in the name of Prime Minister”.
Even corporator elections are being fought in the name of Mr Modi…no one will bother whether the corporator will be good for the city or not, he maintained.
On BSP-Samajwadi alliance, he said “It is too early to talk about the alliance between Mayawai and Akhilesh Yadav but the mood this time will be against BJP. However, the caste equations will be not as simple and clear as is made out to be”.
“It will not be all that cakewalk for Samajwadi and BSP as well,” he added.