Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said Uttar Pradesh had seen progress and unprecedented development works on several fronts, but it was the so-called experienced leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who refuses to see these changes happening here in the last five years.
Akhilesh and his wife Dimple Yadav, an MP from Kannauj, were talking to Hindustan Times’ senior resident editor Sunita Aron in a Facebook live event at their residence in Lucknow on Thursday.
Talking about the achievements of his government, Akhilesh listed out the 19 lakh laptops distributed to students, pension funds expanded to 50 lakh recipients, the big boost to tourism in the form of the world-class Gomti riverfront in Lucknow and the completion of the Lucknow-Agra Expressway and the Lucknow Metro in record time .
“Inclusive and balanced growth of the state was the agenda of the SP government. We will distribute bicycles to meritorious girls of class 10th and class 12th if we come back to power,” he said.
Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism that Akhilesh had gone and allied with a party (Congress) that had plotted to eliminate his father and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1984, the UP chief minister said Modi need not have gone that far back in history to provoke him.
“If he really wanted to provoke me, he should have just raked up the Firozabad elections when some Congress leaders ensured the defeat of my wife Dimple,” he added.
Akhilesh was upbeat about the first two phases of polling in the state, adding that the crestfallen demeanour of the opposition was evidence of their poor performance.
Defending the SP’s poll alliance and joint rallies with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh said the BJP was rattled with this tie-up and was using all the tricks to break this alliance.
On the issue of demonetisation, he said the PM had no idea how much the common man suffered because of the move. “They have to tell the country how much black money they recovered from this drive.”
About the Yadav family feud and its impact on the party’s prospects, Akhilesh said, “There were some people who wanted to snatch away the cycle, but I prevented that.”
Talking about her campaign in different constituencies, Dimple said, “We have very little time left. So I am campaigning at places wherever the party wants me to go in the elections.”
She said she was getting a fantastic response. “I feel welcomed and loved at different rallies.”
On a lighter note, asked for his views on new US president Donald J Trump, Akhilesh said, “I am quite away from US politics. I am not into it.”