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On a bicycle, Akhilesh Yadav will kick off Samajwadi Party’s 2019 election campaign

Akhilesh Yadav has also decided to take out bicycle rallies at least once a month, visiting all regions of the state before the elections.

india Updated: Sep 15, 2018 14:43 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Pankaj Jaiswal
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Akhilesh Yadav,Samajwadi Party,2019 Lok Sabha elections
Samajwadi party president Akhilesh Yadav addresses a press conference.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT File Photo)

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav will ride the bicycle like never before to kick off his 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, pedalling a 50-km stretch from Kannauj to the Air Force airstrip on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.

This time around, Akhilesh’s Mercedes luxury bus will take a backseat as his BMW bicycle will take the lead in the poll campaign.

Akhilesh, who is likely to contest the Lok Sabha election from Kannauj, will launch his campaign on December 2, the birthday of Khazanchi who is touted as the “demonetisation baby” by the SP. Khazanchi was born when his mother was waiting in a queue to deposit scrapped currency notes at a bank in Kanpur Dehat on December 2, 2016.

Akhilesh has also decided to take out bicycle rallies at least once a month, visiting all regions of the state before the elections.

He has taken out bicycle yatras in all the elections but never has he planned such an extensive campaign.

Akhilesh is practising cycling frequently these days, either at the Janeshwar Mishra Park in Gomti Nagar area or near his new private home in Ansal township.

“For a 50-km stretch, practice is a good idea, otherwise the muscles will get sore midway,” said an SP leader who will accompany Akhilesh on the bicycle yatra.

SP state spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said, “The national president had announced early last month that he would take out a bicycle yatra every month. The first in the series has now been announced. The yatra will be flagged off in Kannauj by Khazanchi’s family and will be flagged in by the family of a child who was born recently on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.”

“Akhilesh will connect to the masses through a series of bicycle yatras. He had triggered the winds of change during the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections through bicycle yatras,” he added.

Akhilesh had earlier said while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had launched their election campaigns, he would do so after the monsoon.

“All the campaigning that they (Modi and Yogi) do now will be washed out by rainwater. I will start mine after the monsoon,” Akhilesh had said during a press conference in July.

The PM had gone into campaign mode in UP on June 28 when he addressed a rally and inaugurated projects in Maghar (Sant Kabir Nagar), the place where the 15th century mystic poet Kabir Das breathed his last.

Modi then covered Noida (Gautam Budh Nagar), Azamgarh and Varanasi. He also addressed public meetings in Shahjahanpur on July 21 and Lucknow on July 29.

Ahead of the 2017 UP assembly elections, Akhilesh had used a Mercedes bus converted into a plush ‘rath’ (chariot) to campaign but the bus developed a snag midway. He then switched to a Mercedes SUV with a sunroof. For the 2012 UP assembly polls that propped him as the chief minister, Akhilesh had used an old bus – once used by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav – as the Kranti Rath and campaigned extensively.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 14:27 IST