'Yogi ji is working hard': PM Modi lauds UP's 'unparalleled' handling of COVID-19 pandemic, crackdown on 'mafia raj'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi to inaugurate a slew of developmental projects on Thursday. He also addressed a gathering, showering praise on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.

"Today, Yogi ji himself is working hard. People of Kashi can see how he comes here regularly and inspects every development project and quickens the work. He works like this for the entire state, goes to every district," the PM said in Varanasi.

The Chief Minister, Modi contended, was "quickly moving forward" in making a modern Uttar Pradesh. "It is not as if schemes were not brought for UP before 2017, it is not as if money was not released. We were given the opportunity to serve you in 2014, even at that time, swift efforts were made from Delhi. But at that time, hurdles used to come up in Lucknow," he said.

While the state administration had faced severe criticism for its handling of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi appeared to hold a different opinion. Dubbing the UP government's handling of the pandemic as 'unparalleled', he said that their work was worthy of praise.

"Uttar Pradesh has built up medical infrastructure in a record span of time during the pandemic. More than 550 oxygen plants have been set up. Medical facilities have reached the rural interiors and this will help in the future too," he said. The Prime Minister also hailed Uttar Pradesh for "the maximum number of vaccinations in the country".

While addressing a gathering on his one-day visit to Varanasi, Modi also expressed his admiration for the COVID-19 warriors and frontline officials. He said that whenever he made midnight calls to learn about the situation, he found concerned officials on duty.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, projects worth around Rs 744 crores will be inaugurated today. This includes a 100-bed MCH wing in BHU, multi-level parking at Godauliya, Ro-Ro vessels for tourism development on River Ganga, and a three-lane flyover bridge on the Varanasi-Ghazipur Highway. Modi inaugurated the International Cooperation and Convention Centre, Rudrakash which has been constructed with Japanese assistance.

He also lay the foundation stones of several projects and public works worth around Rs 839 crores.

(With inputs from agencies)

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