The next round of crucial assembly elections is still a few months away but the Uttar Pradesh government is first off the block when it comes to enticing voters with freebies. On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav announced that Samajwadi Party (SP) might consider announcing free distribution of handsets in its manifesto for the 2017 elections to tackle the problem of the digital divide.
If the SP is planning free phones, the Congress, which is trying hard to revive its fortunes in the state, has gone a step ahead: The party, say reports, is planning to promise farm-loan waivers. For now, the BSP chief Mayawati has taken her attack on the Modi government to a new level, claiming that the BJP-led Centre may go to war with Pakistan in a bid to divert attention from its failures and win the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
When one hears the pre-election announcements and speeches in Uttar Pradesh, it’s mostly all about freebies, caste equations, religious and political polarisation. But unfortunately till now no political party has raised, discussed or commented on the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2015 report that puts UP on the top of honour killing list.
According to the report, Uttar Pradesh accounted for the majority of honour killings (168), followed by Gujarat (25) and Madhya Pradesh (14) in 2015. Uttar Pradesh (383) and Gujarat (122) also figure in list of top three states in murder cases that were due to love affairs.
Despite such a dubious honour, UP’s political leaders ---- even the women ---- are silent on the issue when they, at least the ones in the Opposition, should be taking to the streets demanding answers from the SP government.
The silence of the political leaders only shows that they don’t have the courage to take on vigilante groups that perpetrate such terror on women such as the khap panchayats because they control huge votebanks.
What is worrying is that these vigilante groups are social institutions that have no sanction under the law and yet they manage to carry out their pernicious agenda thanks to political support.