Opposition can and will defeat BJP in public court: Akhilesh Yadav
‘I am extremely happy that Nitish Kumar, along with RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leader Tejashwi Yadav, pre-empted any such move and saved Bihar and the country. Now, the BJP should be ready to face the Opposition in the people’s court’.
Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav is confident that the Opposition will present a credible political alternative with a clear agenda for the country before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In an interview with Sunita Aron, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also spoke about the recent political development in Bihar. Edited excerpts:
How will Bihar impact Opposition politics?
The first impact of Bihar is that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is rattled by the developments. Bihar has taught them a lesson.
What about the Opposition?
Bihar has also sent a message to the Opposition – the message of alliance and cohesiveness. An indefatigable Opposition can and will defeat the BJP in the public court (the 2024 general elections) by providing a political alternative with a clear vision for the country. People will trust alliances or coalitions if they have an agenda for the nation.
Is there any such move so far?
Several senior leaders like Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar have been working diligently to draw the contours of a political alternative with a clear agenda. Bihar will pace up the efforts.
Have you been regularly meeting the Telangana CM?
Yes, I will continue to meet him along with other senior leaders. After witnessing the developments in Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP manipulated formation of its government even after losing the elections, in Maharashtra, where ED (the Enforcement Directorate) demolished the government, and in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP lured voters by distributing money, it is quite possible that they were conspiring to break the JD(U) of (Bihar) chief minister Nitish Kumar.
I am extremely happy that Nitish Kumar, along with RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leader Tejashwi Yadav, pre-empted any such move and saved Bihar and the country. Now, the BJP should be ready to face the Opposition in the people’s court.
Is the Opposition planning to form a stable political party or alliance like the NDA and the UPA?
The seniors are working on the modalities. It could be under one banner with one development agenda. My party has lost the election, but even our critics can’t deny of the fact that the Samajwadi Party did present before the people a clear and progressive vision.
Will Nitish Kumar lead the coalition?
All this is being spread by the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) to throw a spanner in our efforts. By now we know their tactics. Some leadership will emerge at the most opportune time.
Will the Congress be a part of this alliance?
Ask the Congress.
What would be the rallying issue? Will caste census have the same potency as Mandal?
Two issues — inflation and unemployment — along with caste census will be the burning issues in 2024.
What is the harm in knowing the population of various castes? When netaji (SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav), Sharad Yadav, Lalu Yadav and several others had demanded caste census, the Congress rejected the demand. Now, the BJP, which is sitting in power primarily because of the support of backwards and Dalits, is refusing it. Ask (Uttar Pradesh) deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, he will never agree to a caste census.
It is a major issue as people are not getting jobs. Over 113,000 have applied for jobs under the Agnipath scheme in Kannauj and 11 adjoining districts, while only 3,500 will be recruited. Will it not lead to frustration?
Don’t you think Yadavs and Jatavs, who get the lion’s share of quota, will get angry with the caste census move?
We are saying — go for census, give (reservation) in proportion to the population.
What will be the role of a scattered Opposition in Uttar Pradesh?
Here, the fight will be primarily between the BJP and the SP. We have lost the election because of the Election Commission’s dishonesty. They took no action on the Opposition’s complaints of irregularities in voters list, delay in counting and misuse of official machinery. But we gave a call on August 9 to remove the BJP and we will do so.
But the Opposition is scattered. Will you ally with the Congress or the BSP?
No, never. The Congress used CBI against netaji. The Congress involves in conspiracies, (they) can’t be trusted. Similarly, (there is) no question of any alliance with the BSP. Lohiaji used to say, “Apna karya karte rahiya (keep doing your work)”. I have added “good” before work.