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Published On: Mon, Jan 28th, 2019

UP Cabinet to hold meeting in Kumbh tent city; pension for saints on agenda

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Yogi cabNEW DELHI / PRYAGRAJ : : In an unprecedented move Uttar Pradesh will hold its cabinet meeting at the Kumbh tent city at Prayagraj on January 29 (Tuesday). Kumbh Mela, touted as the largest faith-based congregation of humanity in the world, is underway at at Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad). The 48-day Kumbh Mela started on January 15 and will continue till to March 4. During the festival, tens of millions of people, primarily Hindus, bathe at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and Sarasvati.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led cabinet will meet at 11 am and all concerned cabinet ministers will be attending. The meeting will also be attended by not just the cabinet ministers but also junior ministers of state, said reports.  The meeting will begin at 11 am, the Chief Minister is expected to take a dip at the confluence after that.
This is only the second time in independent India’s history that the meeting of UP cabinet will happen outside the confines of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly’s Vidhan Bhavan in Lucknow. As per reports, the ministers will take a tip in Ganga before the meeting. In 1962, state cabinet meeting was conducted at Nainital (now in Uttarakhand). Some of the key decisions that will be taken at the meeting include a pension for economically weaker section of the society and nomadic saints –in a push for BJP’s core Hindutva votebank ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Just yesterday, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav visited Prayagraj and offered prayers at the Triveni Sangam. He also met prominent saints and seers and took their blessings.The budget for Kumbh Mela under Adityanath regime has increased manifold as compared to 2012 when the state was ruled by SP’s Yadav regime.
This is the first time during Yogi Adityanath’s tenure as Chief Minister that his ministers are holding an official meeting outside Lucknow. The move is the latest among a series of measures by the Chief Minister to hype up the festival, which is among the world’s largest religious gatherings, at Prayagraj.

This year’s event comes at a critical time for the BJP. The national elections, due by May, are expected to be a close contest after the party lost power in three heartland states in the recent assembly elections. In Uttar Pradesh — the 80-seater state that decides who rules in Delhi — a twist has been added by the freshly minted alliance between Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.Kumbh Mela is among the world’s largest religious gatherings at Prayagraj.
A third factor is the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the general secretary of the Congress in eastern part of the state, where lies Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi and Yogi Adityanath’s home turf Gorakhpur. The party is expecting to capture the upper caste votes that went to the BJP in 2014 general elections, during which it won 71of the state’s 80 seats.
Yogi Adityanath, the biggest mascot of the BJP after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is expecting the Kumbh mela to add a vital push to the BJP campaign. The build-up has been detailed, complete with a change of name of the city from Allahabad to Prayagraj. The Central approval for the name change came earlier this month, barely a fortnight before the Kumbh mela was due to begin.

At a cost of Rs. 4,200 crore, the Chief Minister has transformed a smaller, “ardh” or half Kumbh Mela into a full version of the festival. Already, politicians have been flocking to the festival. On Sunday, Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav took a dip at the Kumbh. PM Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are both expected to attend the festival before it wraps up in March.There is also speculation that Priyanka Gandhi could also visit the Kumbh before or after taking charge in Lucknow.

On January 31 and February 1, the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad is expected to hold a meeting at Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj to decide the way forward on the Ram temple issue. Right-wing groups are demanding that the government bypass the legal process through an executive order or ordinance and begin construction at the disputed site. (With Agency Inputs ).

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