UP elections 2017: PM Narendra Modi and CM Akhilesh Yadav must talk about UP’s poor per capita income

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Updated: February 10, 2017 6:45 PM

It is quite natural that the war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and those of Congress-SP combine, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, has reached its peak ahead of the first of the seven phases of the polling for the assembly elections to be held tomorrow.

Beyond the political rhetoric and war of words, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi must spell out measures to improve UP’s per capita income, which is less than half the national figure. (Reuters/PTI)Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (Reuters/PTI)

santosh-tiwari-sBeyond the political rhetoric and war of words, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi must spell out measures to improve UP’s per capita income, which is less than half the national figure.

It is quite natural that the war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and those of Congress-SP combine, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, has reached its peak ahead of the first of the seven phases of the polling for the assembly elections to be held tomorrow.

But, in the din of ‘who said what against whom’, all the leaders would do well by having a look at the comparative GDP growth rate and per capita income growth at the national level and in UP (see chart below).

While the all-India per capita income has grown from Rs 63,460 in 2011-12 to Rs 77,431 in 2015-16, with 2011-12 as base year – in case of UP, it has gone up to just Rs 37,349 from Rs 31,886, during this period.

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The state’s per capita income clearly reflects its sad state of development even in the last decade, when a number of laggard states have improved their performance.

This is really ironic for a state that has elected the current prime minister and home minister and 73 MPs of the ruling NDA to the Lok Sabha, and instead of fighting on whether the Union Budget has ignored the state or not, the leaders must focus on improving the state’s development credentials.

State after state and also at the national level, it has been seen that people have started favouring leaders seen as growth drivers, and voters in UP may also not vote differently, even though caste and other factors are in full play in the current elections also.

The UP elections are being seen as a big test for not only the five-year rule of Akhilesh Yadav, but also for the current NDA government at the centre which will complete three years in May.

Whatever be the result, it will reflect people’s perception about the policies of PM Modi in the recent past, including the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and will certainly have an impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections also.

growth-rate-1

It will be good if the political discourse shifts towards growth in the next six phases of the election.

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