Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

PM, CM engage in banter about land


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he had wanted a trade facilitati­on centre for weavers in the heart of Varanasi, but the state government allotted the land a little away.

“This centre for weavers is outside the city. I had asked the state government for land in the city itself. But it did otherwise and allotted land here (Lalpur),” Modi said.

Hours later, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav refuted the claim in Agra.

Talking to reporters at Taj Khema, the chief minister clarified that the land sought by the union textile ministry for the project had already been earmarked for a Varanasi Haat proposal mooted by the state government for weavers.

Another land was shown but it was disapprove­d by the central government which then went ahead with the project at another site, the CM claimed.

The chief minister said his government would never be found wanting in providing land for any central project.

Yadav, who was in Agra to inaugurate an exhibition, said the state government was more concerned than the BJP about the weavers.

Earlier in the day, no sparks flew when the chief minister received the PM at Babatpur airport in Varanasi.

The situation was quite unlike that witnessed five


months ago when the two had targeted each other over Uttar Pradesh demanding Gujarat’s Gir lions for the upcoming lion safari project in Etawah.

The PM warmly returned the CM’s gesture of flying down to receive him as governor Ram Naik watched.

Though the CM left immediatel­y after welcoming the PM, his two ministers Ahmad Hasan and Surendra Patel attended two of Modi’s functions. The gesture was not lost on the PM who stayed away from making any direct attack on the Samajwadi Party government.

During the launch of the trade facilitati­on centre and crafts museum at Lalpur, where Akhilesh’s ministers were present, the PM did mention the land issue but the remark didn’t carry the sting of a usual Modi attack.

“It was made very lightly and the comment ended with ‘chalo koi baat nahi’. Like a true Gujarati, the PM never forgets to return a favour,” a senior BJP leader said.

 ??  ?? Governor Ram Naik and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav welcoming PM Narendra Modi in Varanasi on Friday.
Governor Ram Naik and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav welcoming PM Narendra Modi in Varanasi on Friday.

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