Lucknow: In an apparent move to woo 'Patel' (Kurmi) community ahead of 2017 Assembly polls, the Uttar Pradesh government is likely to declare a holiday on October 31 to mark Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel's birth anniversary.
The decision is likely to be taken by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav after Bundelkhand's slain dacoit Dadua's brother and former MP Bal Kumar Patel and his son, MLA from Patti (Pratapgarh) Ram Singh, met him in this regard with the request, official sources said.
"He (CM) was of the view that holiday should be declared and asked us to give our demand in writing," Bal Kumar said.
"I want to draw your attention towards Sardar Patel whose contribution towards freedom struggle cannot be ignored. SP has always honoured great personalities and I request you to declare a public holiday on his birth anniversary," SP MLA Ram Singh said in his letter to the chief minister.
The decision maybe taken by the Samajwadi Party government in view of elections for the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly due in early 2017.
As Kurmi, an OBC community, which constitute nearly seven percent of population, regards Sardar Patel as their icon, the party "feels" it would help them in wooing them in the state and they could counter BJP, which is going all out to encash Patel's name.
After the decision, the number of official holidays in Uttar Pradesh will reach 39.
"With 39 public holidays a year, there has been a 50 percent increase in the state government's list of public holidays in the past 10 years," noted a senior official.
The Samajwadi Party government had earlier declared a holiday on December 6, the death anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, which was seen as an attempt to appease Dalits.
The Akhilesh Yadav government had also declared holidays on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar (April 17), Maharana Pratap (May 9), Maharishi Kashyap and Maharishi Nishadraj Jayanti (April 5), and Hazrat Ajmeri Garib Nawaj Urs (April 26) besides others.
The SP government has also declared June 24 as public holiday in UP to mark socialist leader Karpoori Thakur's birth anniversary.