The BJP may have wrested an extra seat in the recent Rajya Sabha polls but the victory will backfire on the saffron party as its “anti-Dalit face stood exposed” while the SP-BSP unity got strengthened, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav claimed today. In an interview to PTI, Akhilesh Yadav also said his wife Dimple Yadav may not contest the next Lok Sabha elections to blunt the nepotism charge that political opponents hurl at Samajwadi Party (SP), which he leads. Dimple Yadav is currently the Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj. The SP chief also alleged that law and order had collapsed during the present dispensation in UP while “political encounters” were being staged. Those involved will have to face a probe sooner or later, he warned. The SP will exploit to the hilt “the BJP’s conspiracy against a Dalit” during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said today. He was referring to BJP nominee Anil Agrawal edging out BSP’s Bhimrao Ambedkar in a nail-biting contest earlier this week. “The victory of the BJP on the ninth seat, contested by the saffron party with the help of money power, has given the SP an opportunity to expose the communal outfit’s anti-Dalit face. Because of the conspiracy hatched by the BJP against a Dalit getting elected, SP-BSP unity has got strengthened all the more for the (2019) Lok Sabha polls,” Akhilesh Yadav alleged. The real character of the BJP, which “misused money and power against the poor”, stood exposed in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, he claimed.
The SP chief, who cancelled a function to felicitate party leader Jaya Bachchan on getting re-elected to the Rajya Sabha, felt the defeat of the Dalit candidate would cement his party’s relations with Mayawati-led BSP. Terming the victory of SP candidates in Lok Sabha by-polls in seats earlier held by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya as a “big” achievement, Akhilesh Yadav claimed a message had gone across the country that the BJP can be defeated in 2019. “I term the victories in by-polls as big ones because it was not just our victory but also the defeat of the CM and the deputy CM. Yogi ji, who was campaigning all over the country for the BJP could not save his own turf. It has sent a message all over the country and instilled confidence among people and workers that if the BJP can be defeated in their (leaders’) constituencies, the result can be replicated all over,” he said. I thank Mayawati ji for her support, he added. The BJP lost the by-polls in Gorakhpur, the bastion of the chief minister, and Phulpur, earlier held by the deputy chief minister.
Asked about his party’s strategy for the 2019 polls, Akhilesh Yadav said besides booth management, party workers have been asked to reach all villages and interact with people. “I, our leaders and our cadre will go everywhere. We will apprise the people of the works initiated during my regime and ask them to compare them with what is going on in the BJP regime. The BJP had made a number of promises but fulfilled none. The anger of people are palpable and they have shown it in the by-polls,” he said. On the BJP’s argument that voting percentage in the Lok Sabha by-polls was less, Akhilesh Yadav said, “Had more voters come out, our victory margin would have been bigger. They (BJP) misled people and won elections and then they could not follow what they promised.” The SP chief also announced his wife Dimple Yadav will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “We have decided, she will not contest this time as we are charged with ‘pariwarwad’ (nepotism). BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh, Raman Singh, Shivraj Chauhan are indulging in nepotism. Members of their family are in politics. My wife is not contesting…They (BJP) too should also set an example. If they don’t do so and only make allegations against us, I can also change my mind,” he said.
Asked about a future alliance with the Congress, he said the picture will become clear when polls come near. “My relations with the Congress are good and will remain so. It is a national party while we are strong here in the state. The preparations for stitching together an alliance are on. The leader will be decided later at an opportune time,” the SP chief said. On how his father Mulayam Singh Yadav felt after Lok Sabha bypoll victories, Akhilesh Yadav said, “He was very happy that youths were elected. He blessed us all.” Akhilesh Yadav attacked Yogi Adityanath’s statement that “he did not celebrate Eid” and said, “I myself celebrate all festivals and observe nine-day fast during Navratra. My wife (Dimple) remains on fast on Thursdays,” he said.
The former UP chief minister alleged law and order had collapsed under the BJP regime. “They are doing encounters. But these are political encounters. And I want to tell all those involved that they will have to face probe now or later. They cannot get away with it. The BJP is damaging fabric of the society by spreading communalism and casteism,” he remarked. On RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Akhilesh Yadav said, “He is not only my relative but a big leader, who had kept communal forces at bay in Bihar. I had sent Kironmay Nanda to meet him recently.”