Despite being the official face of the UPA for the past 10 years, the prime minister is conspicuous by his absence from election rallies and even banners; he is not scheduled to attend a single rally in Mumbai
The head of the UPA government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has been conspicuously missing from the Congress’ campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Neither is he seen prominently in campaign material, nor has he addressed a lot of rallies.
Face of the hand: Rahul Gandhi is seen smiling down at the electorate from almost all Congress banners. Pic/Nimesh Dave
While Dr Singh did speak at a rally in Kerala on Sunday, and has some scheduled in Uttar Pradesh today onwards, he has not been slated to speak in the entire state of Maharashtra yet. All-India Congress Committee (AICC) chief Sonia Gandhi is going to address one rally in Mumbai on April 20, while vice-president of the party Rahul Gandhi will be touring the state on April 14 and 15 to address rallies in Latur, Shirdi, Pune and Hingoli.
Though he may have earned brickbats for his style of working, Dr Singh has contributed to Mumbai’s growth as prime minister. Keen to develop the nation’s financial capital, he approved some important infrastructure projects for Mumbai and sanctioned viability gap funding (VGF) for a few.
Look who’s missing: This banner at Congress office, near Mantralaya only shows Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre
“Today, even his image is missing from most of the posters and banners put up by party men,” say Congress leaders, albeit in private, to avoid any unpleasant backlash by the party.
Sachin Sawant, spokesman for the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, said, “Schedules for rallies of party’s senior leaders are decided in Delhi. I don’t know what has happened with the PM’s schedule. But I am trying to organise at least one media briefing in Mumbai.”
His contributions to Mumbai
>> Has taken a keen interest in the Navi Mumbai International Airport and even directed officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to speed it up
>> Played a key role in sanctioning 26 projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)
>> Central government under him sanctioned projects worth R5,319 crore for use within limits of Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR). The Centre has contributed R1,861 crore for these 26 projects, with the rest coming from the state
>> Chaired several meetings on Mumbai projects, including Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s memorial at INDU Mills
>> Played an important role in sanctioning viability gap funding (VGF) for a few projects, including R1,920 crore for the proposed Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link connecting Sewri and Nhava-Sheva
>> Central government under him gave an in-principle approval for R1,532 crore VGF for the Metro Phase II connecting Charkop-Mankhurd via Bandra