Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday made it clear that he continued to harbour prime ministerial ambitions and blamed his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s free laptop distribution scheme for the party’s poor show in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The debacle dashed the senior Yadav’s PM’s dreams for a second time, the first disappointment having come in 1996.
"I was always against the laptops (for Class 12 passouts). But they were distributed nevertheless. Shrewd Modi Saab (Narendra Modi) hijacked those laptops as his pictures and video speeches were all over those laptops all the time. My speeches came to a naught,” he remarked at the national convention of the party’s women wing, the Samajwadi Mahila Sabha.
In the 2012 assembly elections, Akhilesh Yadav had promised free laptops to the students. The government distributed over 27 lakh laptops in the first two years . The scheme was discontinued after the party 2014 Lok Sabha debacle in the which SP’s tally of seats came down to five from 22 in the previous election.
Mulayam’s renewed attempt to cobble up the Third Front by bringing together the old Janata Parivar appears to be in sync with his dream to occupy the PM’s chair in 2019, when the next Lok Sabha elections are due.
He would be 80 by then. admitted that it was his brother and senior UP minister Shivpal Singh Yadav who was behind the recent get-together of the five leaders — Sharad Yadav (Janta Dal-United), Lalu Prasad Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal), former prime minister HD Deve Gowda (Janata DalSecular), Nitish Kumar (JD-U) and Mulayam himself — at his Delhi residence recently. Sharad Yadav also was the special guest at the triennial national convention of the SP in Lucknow early last month.
Indicating that the road to Delhi passed through UP, Mulayam said the party must win 250 seats in the 2017 state assembly elections and bring the Akhilesh Yadav government back.
“If we win 250 seats, then Dilli door nahin (then Delhi will not be far),” he added.
Mulayam, who will turn 76 on November 22, blamed a socialist leader for throwing a spanner in his plans to become the PM when the United Front government took charge in Delhi in 1996.
(When Mulayam’s name was proposed for prime ministership at that time, the then Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was said to have opposed it. Consequently, HD Deve Gowda became the prime minister.)
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mulayam went to the extent of calling him ‘corrupt’ for not fulfilling the promises he had made to the people. Mulayam said Modi was “a liar and has forgotten about all the tall promises he had made to the people”. “Breaking a promise is corruption,” he remarked. The three-time former chief minister of UP and former union defence minister rubbished Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign.
“Modi saab, broom won’t make India clean. If you intend to bring in cleanliness, then first eradicate poverty. Where money comes, grime vanishes. Every rich household is clean, while a poor one generally wallows in filth and dirt,” he remarked.
Mulayam said that while Modi was talking about cleanliness now, he (as the UP CM) had launched a scheme 20 years ago to build toilets for women in rural areas (in 1990).
Referring once again to Modi, Mulayam said: “Modi saab, wiliness can make one win elections and install a government. But it can’t make a country progress.”
The SP chief, who had come under attack on numerous occasions for his own statements on women, claimed he and his party were women emancipators.
“No other party can boast of 21 women MLAs in a single state. We have them. We have launched several schemes ,including kanya vidhya dhan and ambulance service for pregnant women.”