When Pratibha Devi Singh Patil was contesting President’s election, Shiv Sena decided to vote for her enbloc, even when she was a Congress candidate, just because she was a Maharashtrian.
They say ethnic food, language, and minorities have tremendous potential to unite. Unfortunately UP (Uttar Pradesh) has none even when it happens to be the biggest state of India. Its mere name is Uttar Pradesh which means the northern province and does not denote any form of ethnicity. Its mother tongue happens to be Hindi. So what, everyone speaks Hindi—sab bolte hain, and so it still doesn’t create that fusion amongst UPites as it would in case of Tamilians, Maharashtrians, Bengalis, Gujaratis or Punjabis to cite a few examples.
It even does not have that ethnic umbrella of food which by sheer name hyperlinks you to the concerned state like—Idli, Dosa Sambar connects you to Tamil Nadu, fish to Bengal, Chole Bhature to Punjab and Dhokla to Gujarat to name a few. It has ordinary Dal Roti, Saag, Sabzi, Kabaabs and Mithai to mention a few which most states of the north have, so there again there is no pull. And so the underground connect that some the other states have by virtue of language, food and ethnicity is largely missing in this state.
Though UP was and still is the livewire political capital of India with 84 seats in Lok Sabha and 31 in Rajya Sabha it was always a case of chirag tale andhera. It never developed like other states and always basked in the comfortable backyards of Delhi. And, sadly the MPs from UP only bickered with each other across party lines and the trend goes on, even when every other state of India is fighting tooth and nail to get new industries and investments into their state. And, so can we expect giants like Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati and Rahul Gandhi all from UP, ever coming together for the cause of U.P? The answer is big no.
Eight of India’s fifteen Prime Ministers were from Uttar Pradesh: Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Charan Singh, Rajeev Gandhi, V.P.Singh, Chandrashekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee apart from various other senior union cabinet ministers who have represented U.P. But still it is a laggard state. And no one knows whom to blame, whether the political class of the state and so also the citizenry.
For some Prime Ministers it was understandable because they had short stints and came in much later in the day but some had long initial stints post India’s independence and still couldn’t provide that initial desired impetus of industrialization and development.
In fact Mrs Indira Gandhi coolly handed over the Integral Coach Factory tipped for Allahabad to Kaputhala in Punjab while Punjab agitation was at its peak to please Sikhs not realising how bad Uttar Pradesh must have felt especially when Phoolpur-Allahabad was Jawahar Lal Nehru’s constituency; and all her life Mrs Gandhi fought elections from Rae-Bareilly in UP.
After Indira Gandhi now Rahul Gandhi the scion of Gandhi parivar is taking Rae-Bareilly for a ride by not taking the food park project seriously when it was sanctioned to him in 2010 and with all the influence at his command he could have seen the project through and got so many in Rae-Bareilly employed. And therefore I fail to understand why Congress Party tries to take Uttar Pradesh for granted.
And looking at the plight of U.P. it is important that the MPs of Uttar Pradesh unite for a change and not let the food park go out to some other state. Even Aklesh Yadav’s government should provide all clearances asap. For one food park or a coach factory will not make any difference in the life of Gandhis, but will certainly make a tremendous difference in the lives of a common man from Uttar Pradesh.
TOI news item- ‘UPA refused cheap gas supply to Rahul project.’