Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday begin a two-day tour of eastern Uttar Pradesh, visiting his parliamentary constituency Varanasi and laying the foundation stone in Azamgarh for the 340-km Purvanchal Expressway.
The prime minister will also inaugurate other development projects and address rallies in Varanasi, Azamgarh and Mirzapur during the tour, his second visit to the politically crucial state in a week.
He was in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi, on Monday, launching a Samsung mobile phone factory with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
The projects to be launched in Varanasi alone are estimated to be worth Rs 1,000 crore.
After landing in Varanasi on Saturday, Modi will head straight by helicopter to Azamgarh, where he will launch the expressway project that the opposition Samajwadi Party claims was the brainchild of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
SP workers staged a demonstration at the Azamgarh district collectorate on Thursday, saying the party was being denied credit.
The six-lane expressway will provide a smooth ride between the state capital and Ghazipur in eastern UP, where the BJP is trying to consolidate its position ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Rs 23,000-crore expressway will be constructed in three years, an official said.
After laying its foundation stone, the prime minister will address a public rally and fly back to Varanasi.
He will address another rally at Kachnar village there in the afternoon and also meet BJP workers at Varanasi’s DLW guest house.
On Sunday, he will address a public meeting in Mirzapur. He will also dedicate the Bansagar Canal Project to the nation there and lay the foundation stone for the Mirzapur Medical College.
The Mirzapur Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Apna Dal (Sonelal), an ally of the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre.
BJP president Amit Shah also visited Mirzapur recently.
The Apna Dal faction on Friday said the prime minister’s Mirzapur visit indicated a further cementing of ties between the two allies.
At the rally in Kachnar village, Modi will inaugurate or formally launch work on development projects worth Rs 1,000 crore, according to UP minister Neelkanth Tiwari.
The projects include a perishable cargo centre, road repair schemes, remodelling of a town hall, a community health centre, a cancer hospital, a heritage walk, a BPO centre, and a new train service to Ballia.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his cabinet colleagues along with Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Manoj Sinha and Dharmendra Pradhan will attend the rally.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)