Partymen had assured me of LS bypoll win sans my presence: Akhilesh
Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said he did not campaign in Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh as partymen had assured him that his presence was not required there. He presented his defence for the first time after his party lost the two SP citadels to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently. Akhilesh had been under constant criticism for not campaigning at the two places.
The SP chief’s absence from the campaign was seen in political circles as the main reason for the party’s defeat in the two Lok Sabha seats vacated by him (Azamgarh) and senior party leader Azam Khan (Rampur) after they both were elected MLAs in 2022 U.P. assembly polls.
Accusing the BJP of winning the bypolls through unfair means, he said: “(I did not go) Because our party organisation there had said there was no need for me to campaign as the SP will win. We had full faith in our organisation and voters but had no idea that the administration will be misused to this extent and money will be distributed and trucks of liquors will be sent.”
“SP voters were identified and their names were either deleted from the voter list or they were prevented from going out to vote,” Akhilesh alleged at a press conference he held on the occasion of the launch of his party’s membership drive here.
Further attacking the BJP, Akhilesh alleged: “Maharashtra has ED (enforcement directorate) government. They have accepted that Maharashtra has an ED government. Earlier, the Congress used ED and CBI against the opposition and now the BJP government is following the Congress’s path. This is how the BJP formed the government in Madhya Pradesh and a few other states. We ‘Samajwadi’ people lost the polls because the officers committed large scale irregularities and voters were prevented from voting.”
While launching the party’s membership drive, Akhilesh said: “After the membership drive, the organisation will be restructured and then the party will take to the streets (against the government)”. The catchline for the membership drive is “Become a member of Samajwadi Party to save democracy”.
He said the membership drive will endeavour to cover all cities, villages and every house. “Need of the hour is to take the message to the people asking them to join the party to strengthen the SP movement to save the democracy,” he said. On Sunday, the SP chief had dissolved the national and the state executives of the party, all its wings and frontal organisations.
Akhilesh said this time the party will digitally maintain membership data. On the first day of the drive, the SP renewed the memberships of Akhilesh Yadav and party’s 2022 U.P. assembly polls candidates. The membership drive, according to party leaders, is an attempt to strengthen the party base ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“Instead of 100 days, the BJP government should tell the achievements of 5 years-and-100 days”, said Akhilesh. “The 100 days indicate that someone else is running the government from behind the scenes,” he said.
Pointing to the reports of deputy chief minister Brajesh Pathak seeking details on transfers done in the health department, he said, “Some forces are running the (BJP) government in the state from behind”.
“Deputy CM had gone out of Lucknow and when he returned, he came to know that transfers were done in his department without his knowledge. He is the same Deputy CM who is conducting raids and has found shortcomings. But, has he initiated action against anyone?. It shows that ‘Koi sarkar peeche se chala raha hai’ (someone is running the government from behind).”
“So, the achievements of 5-years-and-100 days are—someone else is running the government from behind the scene and corruption and injustice have reached their highest point,” he said. “The BJP government’s achievement is widescale irregularities in constable recruitment. Copying happened to an extent that answers’ screenshots were widely shared. Even some who were in jail got recruited,” the SP chief alleged.
Attacking the BJP government further, he alleged: “In the previous five years, the BJP government inaugurated the previous SP government’s works. And even this government, when it does its first inauguration, it will be the previous SP government’s. I have heard that Lulu mall is going to be inaugurated soon. Ask them who made the Lulu mall and when?”
Reiterating his demand for caste census, Akhilesh said: “If the government want to showcase any big achievement, it should get the caste census done and showcase it. The caste census is necessary for an authentic share of various castes in government schemes.”
Rejecting Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar’s suggestion that the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party should come together before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Akhilesh Yadav said his party doesn’t need anyone’s advice.
When asked whether the SP alliance partner Rajbhar was unhappy with the SP, Yadav replied, “What can I do if somebody is unhappy?” Seeing is not always believing and politics is often run from behind the scenes,” he said adding: “The Samajwadi Party does not need advice from anyone.”
Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP had joined hands for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The alliance got just 15 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
In an interview to a news agency a couple of days ago, Rajbhar said the SP and the BSP should come together or tell the deprived sections that they can’t fight for their cause.
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