Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday targeted the ruling Samajwadi Party whose first family is at war, saying chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s attempts to repair the “cycle” had come too late.
The Congress leader, who was addressing a farmer rally in the Madihan area of Mirzapur in eastern Uttar Pradesh, was referring to the chief minister stripping his senior minister and uncle Shivpal Yadav of several important portfolios.
“Akhilesh tried to throw away one of the punctured tyres. But cycle will not move forward in the next six months,” Gandhi said, referring to the Samjwadi Party’s symbol of bicycle and the state election due early 2017.
To revive the fortunes of the Congress, relegated to the margins in the country’s most populous state, Gandhi has set on a month-long 2,500-km kisan yatra.
He is holding khat sabhas to highlight the plight of farmers under the SP rule.
The last few weeks have been turbulent for the ruling party. In the last two days, Akhilesh has sacked two ministers and a senior government official, believed to be close to his uncle and father Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is the SP chief.
To strike a balance, Mulayam appointed Shivpal, his younger brother, as the Uttar Pradesh party chief, a position earlier held by Akhilesh.
“During the BSP rule, it was said elephant consumes fund. You replaced elephant with bicycle. Samajwadi Party constructed roads on which neither a bicycle nor a motorcycle can move,” the Congress leader said on Wednesday.
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party is eyeing a comeback in the state but Gandhi tried to remind the gathering of the corruption charges that the party and its leader face.
“Owing to bumpy roads, the bicycle’s tyres got punctured. It has been standing punctured for the last four years and didn’t move forward even a bit,” he said.
Accusing the rivals of following a divisive politics, the Congress leader said the BSP, SP and BJP governments pandered to certain castes or communities. “Now, I appeal to you to help form sabki sarkar (an all-inclusive government) for development,” Gandhi said, again demanding loan waiver, cheaper power and higher support price of crops for farmers.