Kannauj (UP): Akhilesh Yadav, leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dak alliance (RLD) or Gathbandhan in UP, claimed that the country is going to get a new prime minister and he/she will be from Uttar Pradesh. He was speaking with NewsClick while on a roadshow in Chhibramau, Kannauj on the last day of campaigning for the fourth phase of general elections.
Image Courtesy: Sumit Kumar
“The Gathbandhan is going to win, and we are going to uproot this government which has not just troubled its people, but also animals. The condition of the state is so bad that even bulls are entering the rallies of the political parties and the so-called monk chief minister is bragging to the public that Samajwadi Party is the party of doodhwalas (milk vendors). If he is saying this about me and my father, who is a very tall national leader, then imagine how badly he must be treating the poor and the downtrodden,” said Akhilesh.
The party has come up with slogans such as ‘SP-BSP Aayi Hai, Nayi Lahar Laayi Hai’, ‘Berozgari Mitayenge, Gathbandhan ko Jitayenge’ Image Courtesy: Sumit Kumar.
The SP president said neither his party nor BSP is going to lend its support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if it falls short of majority. On being asked about Congress’s strong candidates fielded against the Gathbandhan in many constituencies, Yadav said that the fight of the alliance is with the BJP and not with the Congress.
“Congress lacks organisation in Uttar Pradesh, and they are not fighting to stop the BJP from retaining power in 2019. It seems like they are preparing themselves for the 2022 state Assembly elections.”
Asked why the three parties had to enter an alliance to take on the BJP if there is so strong anti-incumbency, he said, “The BJP came to power by fooling people in the name of ‘achche din (good days). The government disappointed famers and youths and therefore, we realised the need for coalition to fight the election and give the BJP a fitting reply. This is an alliance of people.”
“Forming the alliance with the BSP and RLD was the need of the hour to save our Constitution and save the country from people who are trying to divide the society along the communal lines,” he further said.
Asked whether the BSP and RLD are getting their votes transferred in favour of SP candidates, Yadav said that transfer of votes took place successfully in first, second and third phase. “The same will happen in the fourth phase. We will win the highest number of seats. And this has disturbed BJP the most. And therefore, its candidates are busy in mud-slinging,” he claimed.
Launching a blistering attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Yadav alleged that only “poor, Dalits and Muslims” have deliberately been killed in ‘encounters’ since Yogi Adityanath took over as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
“People have been killed in ‘encounters’ taking their castes in consideration. Only poor, Dalits and Muslims have become victims of the fake encounters,” he alleged.
More than 60 people have been killed and hundreds injured in over 1,500 encounters carried out under the BJP rule across Uttar Pradesh. With seven killings in alleged shootouts, Azamgarh so far has recorded the highest from a single district. Majority of the victims were either from Scheduled Castes or Other Backward Classes or Muslims.
Going a step ahead, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, “The Baba Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh should add a prefix of thokodaar in his name in a manner the Prime Minister is using chowkidaar.”
“Whatever is happening in the state – be it registration of FIRs and treatment of patients – has caste bias,” he further alleged.
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With an aim to strengthen his allegation of caste bias, the former UP chief minister – who is also contesting from Azamgarh seat – went on to add that there was a propaganda earlier that Yadavs hold key posts in the state. “If you now look at the bureaucracy, the community has completely been marginalised. You won’t even find a single district magistrate or superintendent of police who is a Yadav by caste. Today, I ask the propogandists why this is so,” he said.
He claimed he is against all kind of casteism. “The country will rise only if there is no caste bias and religious hatred. The BJP is involved in caste politics and communal polarisation. We always discourage this kind of divisive politics,” he added.
When asked about the issues on which he and his coalition partners are seeking electorates’ support, he said it is vikas (development) only. “Good roads, laptop schemes, better policing and health facilities are our pole plank. We will get votes on the works we have done,” Yadav added.
With a whopping 80 parliamentary seats, Uttar Pradesh – which is voting in all the seven phases of the parliamentary elections that started on April 11 – makes or unmakes the political destiny of any party in the Lok Sabha. The BJP had won 71 out 80 seats from here in the 2014 general elections.
Though the elections in the state are multi-cornered, with the Congress going on its own after being left out of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, the fight is largely between the BJP and the Opposition alliance.
However, the Congress – which has fielded 46 candidates – too has made its presence felt by appointing Priyanka Gandhi as the general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh’s eastern region. Priyanka appears to have rejuvenated party workers, but turning around the fortunes of her party in this election is apparently not a cakewalk. But she may influence outcomes in a few segments of the state.
The Congress – as close analysis of its candidates and caste equation of different constituencies suggest – is indirectly offering its tactical support to the BSP-SP-RLD grand alliance in some constituencies. Going by the demographic details of some of the constituencies, one can find that the Congress has fielded those candidates who could split the traditional vote of the BJP. That in turn could help the Opposition alliance.
The results of Parliamentary by-elections in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana and Assembly byelections in Noorpur, in all of which the saffron party lost last year – points to the waning influence of the saffron.
Caste arithmetic combined with massive discontent among people with Modi government’s policies seems to be favoring the Opposition alliance. While the BJP relies heavily on the Modi factor, its sitting MPs face a strong anti-incumbency factor.
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