Lucknow: Seven MLAs -- one from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and six suspended from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) - joined the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav, who hit out at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and also claimed the BJP and the Congress "are the same''.
"The people of the state are so agitated that the BJP will be wiped out in the coming days and bhajpa pariwar (BJP family) will appear as bhaagta pariwar (runaway family)," the SP chief said here while taunting the ruling party over its MLA Rakesh Rathore's desertion and indicating that some others from BJP were also in touch with him in the poll-bound state.
Those who joined the SP are BJP MLA from Sitapur, Rakesh Rathore and BSP rebels Aslam Raini (Shrawati), Sushma Patel (Madiyahon), Aslam Ali (Hapur), Hakim Lal Bind (Handia), Mujtaba Siddiqui (Phoolpur) and Hargovind Bhargava (Sidhauli) – who expressed their resolve to make Akhilesh Yadav the chief minister again in the coming elections.
Earlier this year, an audio clip purportedly of Rathore criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for asking people to clap and clang bells and plates during the COVID-19 pandemic had gone viral on social media and he was asked by the party leadership to explain his alleged anti-party activities.
The BSP rebels who joined the SP were suspended by party president Mayawati after they had opposed the nomination of the party's official candidate Ramji Gautam for the Rajya Sabha in October 2020. They had reportedly met Akhilesh Yadav earlier this year and had hinted that they may switch sides soon.
Yadav also took a swipe at Union Home Minister Amit Shah for saying that 90% works of the BJP manifesto have been completed and the 10% remaining in the 'lok kalyan sankalp patra' will be taken up in the next few months.
Yadav said it seems that the BJP leaders have not shuffled its pages and have forgotten about what all was there in their manifesto.
"The first thing mentioned in it was for the farmers that a roadmap to double their income will be prepared by 2022 and they assured farmers in this regard from various platforms. I want to know what has happened to it," he said reading out for the BJP's 2017 manifesto and asked about the fate of other promises as well.
He also again distanced himself from the party's former ally Congress.
"The opinion of Samajwadis for the Congress and BJP is that both are the same,” the SP chief said to a query.
The SP chief also contested the claims of improved law and order and said the statistics of the Government of India and services like Dial 100 and 1090 will clear the picture about the caes of injustice against the girls.
Recalling the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, he said a BJP minister was seen threatening the people in a video and said that this very minister is "being honoured on the dais with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah".
He also accused the BJP of ruining educational institutions by posting people of a particular ideology.
Yadav alleged that instead of carrying out development works, the budget was being spent on publicity.
Questioning the outcome of the investment meet held in Uttar Pradesh, he asked how many youths got jobs after the event.
"Those who came here seeking jobs were chased away using canes and humiliated. Now, these youth will cast their votes to wipe out BJP,” he said.