The Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar is likely to be renamed after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The announcement is likely to be made in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during the foundation laying ceremony of the Noida International Airport at Jewar on 25 November, according to an India Today report.
"The decision (to rename the expressway) has been taken to give a token of respect to the most loved politicians in India. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is respected by all, across party lines, and the renaming of the expressway will remind future generations about his greatness," a senior BJP leader told the publication.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the renaming exercise is being seen as a political move ahead of the elections due in Uttar Pradesh early next year.
However, the expressway will not be the first project in Uttar Pradesh to bear the name of Vajpayee. In November 2018, nearly three months after Vajpayee's demise, the Yogi government renamed the Ekana International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow as ‘Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium.’
Since March 2017, when the current BJP government came to power in UP, it has changed the names of several towns and railway stations, including renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj and Faizabad as Ayodhya. In its most recent move, on 23 October, the ruling dispensation rechristened the Faizabad Railway Junction as Ayodhya Cantt.
Modi is set to visit Jewar on 25 November to lay the foundation stone for the Noida International Airport. It is a key infrastructure project of the Yogi Adityanath government in the state, where the next assembly elections are expected in early 2022.
The Yamuna Expressway was formally inaugurated on 9 August 2012 by then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, via video conference from Lucknow. The six-lane 165-km long expressway connects Greater Noida in the National Capital Region (NCR) with Agra in Uttar Pradesh. The expressway is constructed at a cost of over Rs 14,000 crore.
With input from agencies