If you are Hindu, then say who we are, Akhilesh asks Yogi

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit out at chief minister Yogi Adityanath for having said in the state assembly that he (Yogi) did not celebrate Eid and he was a Hindu and ‘proud of it.’

lucknow Updated: Mar 08, 2018 13:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
Yadav appealed to party workers not to treat the by-polls as ordinary elections.(HT Photo)

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday hit out at chief minister Yogi Adityanath for having said in the state assembly on Tuesday that he (Yogi) did not celebrate Eid and he was a Hindu and ‘proud of it.’

“If you are Hindu, then say who we are? If we are Hindu, then you will have to accept it, or else make sure we are counted among the Dalits and backwards . You will have to define Hinduism clearly,” said Yadav at an election rally at Champa Devi Park here ahead of the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-polls scheduled on March 11.

Yadav appealed to party workers not to treat the by-polls as ordinary elections.

He said the by-elections will send out a strong message across the country and indicated that ‘Bua (BSP chief Mayawati) and Bhatija (Akhilesh himself)’ could continue their partnership to counter the BJP in 2019 when the Lok Sabha election is due.

He thanked Mayawati for extending support to the Samajwadi Party and claimed that such a winning political combination had never been formed before.

He appealed to party workers to ensure that every single vote was cast in favour of Samajwadi Party candidate Praveen Nishad, who was also an engineer like him.

He also hit back at Adityanath, who had rejected the possibility of the SP-BSP alliance posing a threat to the BJP.

Adityanath had described the understanding between the arch rivals as an instance of saanp and chhuchandar (snake and mole) hiding together to escape floods.

Akhilesh Yadav said, “Their language has changed now. Today, they call us saanp and chhuchundar but I have seen them sitting quietly in the house (Parliament) and TV channels have also aired visuals showing them bursting into tears.”

Adityanath made headlines in 2007 when he burst into tears in Parliament and accused the then UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav of targeting him. Adityanath had attended the Lok Sabha after spending 11 days in jail for allegedly violating prohibitory orders in Gorakhpur.

Akhilesh Yadav said, “Ever since we forged a partnership with BSP we are being called saanp and chhuchandar. They don’t see us as people who distributed laptops and started the 102 and 108 ambulance services. But they call us snake and mole. We have never used such words for them.”

Akhilesh Yadav also said the BJP could not compete with his government on the development front. He asked the chief minister to give details of development work done by the Yogi government, which will complete a year in office on March 19.

“They have discontinued the development schemes launched by the previous government. We had launched the 102, 108 ambulance service, the UP 100 emergency response system. But can they mention a single development work by their government. We gave a 500-bed encephalitis ward to the BRD Medical College and allotted land for AIIMS in Gorakhpur. Have they built the AIIMS?”

“Even the Rs 500 Samajwadi pension has been discontinued. We had promised to double it to Rs 1000 in our assembly poll manifesto and we will increase it to Rs 2000 if the SP comes back to power,” he said.

Akhilesh Yadav, who met the mothers of encephalitis victims at the rally venue, criticised the alleged statement that Adityanath had made after over 30 children died in 48 hours at the BRD Medical College Hospital due to alleged disruption in oxygen supply between August 9 and 11 last year.

Akhilesh claimed Adityanath had said he feared a day would come when children, when they are one or two years old, will be left in the care of the government. The chief minister had made the remark in reference to lack of sanitation being the cause of encephalitis deaths.

The SP chief also said health minister Sidharth Nath Singh had said children died every year in August due to encephalitis in the Gorakhpur region.

Attacking the Modi government, Akhilesh said demonetisation neither helped check corruption nor paved the way for bringing back black money from abroad, as promised by BJP leaders .

“Corruption has risen to such a level under this government that those who take away poor people’s cash abroad through banks are not caught. They will never return,” he said.

Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav reached the rally ground in a modified red campaign bus which he had used in the 2017 polls too.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 13:46 IST