Chief minister goes the distance with aim to stay ‘airborne’
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s eyes followed the ‘shadow helicopter’ --off and on -- between his eight landings-takeoffs for the seven rallies that he addressed in Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar on Friday.lucknow Updated: Mar 06, 2017 06:52 IST
An airborne helicopter in clear, sunny sky casts a shadow on the surface of the earth. The shadow runs unhindered through whatever it falls on -- ground, roads, agriculture fields, treetops, ponds, lakes, or crowds.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s eyes followed the ‘shadow helicopter’ --off and on -- between his eight landings-takeoffs for the seven rallies that he addressed in Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar on Friday.
On the ground, in his inimitable style, he “foretold” the victory of Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance after the four rounds of assembly polls, attacked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and repeatedly issued “warnings” to voters against the two rivals.
“He will not be the prime minister in 2019 if, within two years, the Bullet train dream that he sold to the people doesn’t become a reality. Three years of his term are already over,” said Akhilesh to the cheering crowd at Ranjit Inter College ground in Kathari assembly constituency of Ambedkar Nagar.
“...And look how emotional he became and took it to his heart when I took an animal’s name (Gujarat’s donkeys). I didn’t say a word when he mocked at our Metro project that is now a reality in one city --Lucknow -- and will be in three more soon. He made fun of our Agra-Lucknow Expressway -- which is already operational. Such wonderful is our expressway that if he travels on it once, he will press ‘cycle’ button on the voting machine,” Akhilesh said at all the seven rallies in Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar.
The first rally of the day was at Ayodhya for sitting MLA and minister Pawan Pandey -- the firebrand supporter of Akhilesh during the Yadav family feud.
Akhilesh’s staff says that he has done 150 rallies so far since January 28 and will easily cross 200 before campaigning for the remaining three phases ends. “I get up at 6 am. Walk a bit within my house compound, take tea and begin my day. Every day I am doing seven rallies from 10 am to 7 pm,” he told Hindustan Times.
His eyes are fatigued. Once in a while on returning to the helicopter, he puts eye-drops in them. He has developed a new habit this campaign season -- of wiping dust from his tired eyes with his kurta sleeves.
In Ayodhya and elsewhere he said: “What a pity it is that BJP has made even electricty ‘communal’. While the truth is we have been giving 22-24 hours power supply in cities and made arrangements for all festivals -- Ramzan, Diwali, or Christmas. They have begun talking about burial and cremation grounds, while we focused on laptops and smartphones. They are regressive, we are progressive.” Akhilesh said he openly challenges Modi to come to any SP government’s Lohia village and Modi’s Adarsh grams and debate on development of “our villages and the villages of their schemes.”
He said: “BJP (leaders), whenever they open their mouth, they spew venom. Beware of them. And beware of my ‘Buaji’ (BSP chief Mayawati), ensure that she doesn’t become BJP’s sister yet again. Thrice she became BJP’s sister. Ensure that after March 11, she does not celebrate Rakshabandhan with BJP.”
Akhilesh said these days Mayawati was making long speeches reading out from a sheet of paper, while crowd doze off. “She is talking so much because she was trying to transfer votes to BJP. This is what she had done in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. She transferred all her votes to BJP. BJP won 71, and she none,” he said.
In lighter vein, he said: “Samajwadis are adept in riding cycle hands-free. But now Congress’ ‘hand’ too is supporting us and we are riding fast towards power. You can park the cycle by your house’s wall or even inside. But what if you bring the ‘elephant (BSP)’ home. It will rampage your home.”
At the end of the day, on return to Lucknow airport, Akhilesh meets the pilot of his ‘Airbus’ helicopter on the tarmac. Says thanks to him and asks: “So, captain tomorrow you will fly me again.”