Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has kept the Centre guessing on whether the Samajwadi Party would support the UPA on the issue of FDI in retail if the matter comes to voting in Parliament in the coming session. Yadav said, “This decision can't be taken here. The decision has to be taken in Parliament.”
Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, on Saturday, he, however, hinted his party’s support could be extended to the UPA on certain conditions. He said, “We bail out the government. We bailed the UPA I out on the nuclear deal issue. Ours is party that saves people. But who will save us?”
Asked if it is time for a leader from a regional party to be the prime minister, he said, “I can’t say anything about it now. It’s all about the numbers.”
On the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, he said, "UP is a big state. If something happens, media reports that but it doesn't report what we do after incidents take place or what we do to prevent them."
But his predecessor Mayawati was seen to be dealing with the issue with an iron hand, Yadav said, "It’s not correct. She lodged false cases. Even for effigy-burning, she slapped criminal charges against people."
Asked about the public perception that he is not being allowed to function freely as chief minister, he said, "It's not correct. I take advice, suggestions, but for every decisions made, the responsibility is mine. Neta ji (his father Mulayam Singh Yadav) has the experience. Everyone listens to him. Older people have experience. It's good if the youth work with them." "There are no obstacles. People are helping me. Everybody is in favour of change. If there are disagreements, we will sit together and sort them out."
He sought to clarify that his uncle and PWD minister Shivpal Singh Yadav never asked bureaucrats to steal but not do dacoities. "He had told officials not to do kaam chori. But the media omitted the kaam part and showed only chori." “Small-scale corruption can be eliminated through technology and many states are working towards it, but tackling big-ticket corruption is a challenge. Hamare state mein toh zindaan mein murtiyaan lag gayi. How do we tackle that?” he asked.
In response to a question if he became chief minister because of his family, Yadav said, "It happened because of the family and my hard work. The family gives you an identity, a head start but after that you have to work hard and prove yourself."
Responding to a charge that he did stop DP Yadav from joining Samajwadi Party but people like Raja Bhaiya who has a number of criminal cases pending against him has joined the party, Yadav said, “In a democracy cases don’t make a person criminal. Cases against him were all false. I have always tried not to associate with people who can tarnish the party’s image. I have given opportunity to people who are young, educated and whose image is clean.”
But has he met the expectations of the people? “The people’s mandate for us is to govern the state for five years. In the last seven months, there have been changes. I'll go the people after five years and if people think I haven't delivered, they will vote us out. UP is a huge state, when we assumed power things were in a shambles and it will take time to change undo the damages. You cannot give people jobs or make them educated in a day.”