Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav, along with other party leaders, will flag off the much-publicised ‘rath yatra’ of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on November 3.
As the custom-made hi-tech ‘rath’ reached the chief minister’s residence in Lucknow on Tuesday, leaders of the youth wings of the party, which has been hit by a feud, looked determined to make the event a huge draw.
“Netaji (Mulayam) with other senior party leaders would flag off the ‘rath yatra’, the details of which would be made available soon,” the chief minister’s close aide, Rajendra Chowdhary, informed HT.
Two prominent English medium schools in the vicinity, — La Martiniere Boys and Loreto Convent ( a girls’ school) -have ordered closure on Thursday in view of the large turnout.
According to Chowdhary, over 3,000 vehicles, mostly SUVs, would be part of the entourage.
All roads leading to the venue – La Martiniere College ground – have been decorated with banners as senior police officers and the chief minister’s security personnel made tnecessary security arrangements for the event.
Akhilesh had announced the launch of his ‘yatra’ on October 3, but called it off in the thick of the Yadav family feud. This would be his third ‘yatra’ since 2001-2002 but at that time he had covered the constituencies on a cycle, for which he also holds a record, according to Chowdhary.
The ‘Kranti Rath’ Akhilesh used in 2012 was inherited from his father and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
On November 5, the ruling party is all set to celebrate its silver jubilee and the man in-charge of it is Akhilesh uncle and the party’s state unit president, Shivpal Yadav.
A poster war among the supporters of the two leaders is on display now with attempts to make their respective events a bigger draw than the other.
‘Uncle’ (Shivpal) is missing and only pictures of the chief minister and party patriarch Mulayam dot the hoardings and posters put up by the SP youth leaders along the roads leading to the venue of the rath yatra event.
A solitary billboard put up by Shivpal’s supporters, however, claims: “Shivpal kahen dil se, Akhilesh ka abhishek phir se’ (Shivpal sincerely wants Akhilesh to be CM again).” So, would he be there on November 3?
“I would attend the function if I am invited,” he had said when he was asked last week whether he would take part in the CM’s ‘rath yatra’ event. He had taken the same stand on going to a meeting of all party MLAs called on October 23 by Akhilesh, but the invite never came.
“We are not focusing on anything else right now. I have only one leader and that is Akhilesh and we are going to make his ‘rath yatra’ a historic success,” said Ebad Ansari, the expelled Yuvjan Sabha chief.
Billed as ‘Vikas se Vijay tak’ (from development to victory), the ‘rath yatra’ would start at 9am from La Martiniere College ground for Unnao, which is around 55 kilometres from Lucknow.
Apart from two huge receptions that have been planned in the state capital – one in Gomti Nagar and another one near the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport — the chief minister would address several public meetings along the route.
The SP, however, is not the only party gearing up for 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Almost all major political parties are set to hit the campaign trail from November.
The BJP would be taking out four ‘Parivartan Yatras’ from November 5, during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address at least seven party rallies, rounding off the yatras on December 24 in Lucknow. The Congress is embarking on the second phase of the ‘Rahul Sandesh Yatra from November 2 and it would end on November 10.