UP: Samajwadi Party's Desh Bachao Cycle Yatra Covered 5,000 km, Focus on Caste Census
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI
Lucknow: 'Desh Bachao, Samajwadi Cycle Yatra,' started from Prayagraj on August 9 by Samajwadi Party's Lohia Vahini outfit, entered Central Uttar Pradesh this week. The yatra was revitalised after Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav pedalled for nearly 20 km on the Purvanchal Expressway.
Abhishek Yadav, Samajwadi Lohia Vahini national president who is leading the yatra, speaking to NewsClick, said, “Due to the pathetic condition of our country and the government's control over all the agencies, including enforcement directorate and income tax, we had to undertake this yatra. When the system collapses, people are the only hope to save democracy. Therefore, we are going among people, and this is the only way the government will be removed by doing mass movement."
Abhishek Yadav further said, "The socialist ideology is the need of the hour. This is the only way the Constitution of the country can be saved. For this, there is a need for ideological institutions like the Center for socialist studies. Keeping this in mind, we started our cycle yatra in August."
With its main focus being the demand for caste census in the state, the yatra has covered 26 districts, traversing around 5,100 km in the Bundelkhand region and eastern UP districts on the bicycle — the SP’s election symbol.
The objective of the yatra is to reach out to people in 403 Assembly constituencies across all 75 districts in the state.
When asked about his cycle yatra routine and how he addresses local issues, he said, "We are meeting farmers, daily wagers, women, migrant workers, and addressing their issues. Farmers in most of the region have accepted that the ruling government won't solve the stray cattle menace. Similarly, sugarcane farmers are worried about their pending dues in the BJP government."
Abhishek Yadav mentioned that the yatra would shift gears from central UP to Western UP. The first phase is expected to conclude in Lucknow, on the birth anniversary of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the party's founder, on November 22 in Lucknow.
Structured in two phases, the yatra will resume its second leg on December 6, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's death anniversary. It will culminate at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 26.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav joined them by pedalling nearly 20 km on the Purvanchal Expressway. The yatra reached the Unnao district on Thursday and will head to Kannauj, Mainpuri and conclude at Saifai on November 22.
Abhishek Yadav believes the cycle yatra, which began on a small scale from a village, turned into a movement. The workers were rejuvenated after Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav joined them.
"We are happy that our party national president will participate in the yatra. We will not put extra efforts to unite the oppressed community of the society."
Meanwhile, the SP president, while addressing the party workers in Lucknow, said the caste census was necessary to give equal rights to everyone in society so that every individual could get their rights in proportionate to the population of the group he belongs to.
He said his party, as part of the government at the Centre if it wins the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, would abolish the Agniveer scheme and restore the system that was applicable before it.
Akhilesh Yadav intends to use the yatra to gain electoral advantages, as he did in the Assembly elections of 2001 and 2012. He had undertaken 'cycle yatra' during the 2001 and 2012 Assembly polls in the state, and on both occasions, his party had won the elections.
The cycle yatra also highlights issues like inflation, unemployment, and privatisation of government sectors like education, railways, and airports.
During the yatra, party workers will also enumerate the work and development works of the SP government to the people.
Earlier, the Samajwadi Party had also called for a reservation for the ‘PDA’ — Pichhde (backward classes), dalit (oppressed), and ‘Alpsankhyak (minorities) within the existing reservation.
The Samajwadi party has already started branding future elections with the catchline “Is Baar PDA Sarkar” (PDA government this time), printed in bold on a poster carrying a photograph of Yadav thanking Ghosi’s voters for their support to SP and its candidate Sudhakar Singh.
With indications that dalits largely voted for the SP in the BSP’s absence, the party is contemplating a more focused outreach programme for the ‘Bahujan Samaj’.
PADALLED CYCLE IN 2001
Akhilesh Yadav followed the footsteps of the late Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had undertaken 'cycle yatra' in 2001. After this, in the 2002 Assembly elections, SP won 143 seats, and in 2004, Mulayam Singh Yadav became the Chief Minister. The effect of the yatra was also seen in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, SP won 35 out of 80 seats with 26.74% votes. Whereas in 2009, SP's seats in the Lok Sabha decreased to 23, the vote percentage decreased by only 3%, i.e. 23.26%. Even before the UP Assembly elections in 2012, Akhilesh Yadav had undertaken a similar cycle and rath yatra and travelled across the state. Its effect was that SP won 224 seats and got 29.15% votes, and Akhilesh Yadav became the Chief Minister.
The political observer and senior journalist covering the Samajwadi Party also believes the yatra is gaining momentum and will benefit the party in upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
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