Contrary to the claims by the Congress party, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said that he has not received any formal invitation to join Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Uttar Pradesh. Akhilesh was responding to questions on whether he would join the Yatra which is scheduled to enter UP on January 3.
“We have not received any invitation for Bharat Jodo Yatra. The ideology of our party is different. BJP and Congress both are same,” Yadav said, addressing reporters in Lucknow.
Akhilesh’s statement comes in stark contrast to the Congress party’s claims of sending invitations to several non-BJP leaders, including Akhilesh, BSP supremo Mayawati and RLD president Jayant Chaudhary. Most Opposition leaders have cited their inability to take part in the UP leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Akhilesh had earlier evaded a direct response to the question, suggesting that while he believed in the Bharat Jodo Yatra’s intent to unite India, he wasn’t on the same page as the Congress on who would displace the BJP.
“Humari bhavna hai ki Bharat jodo, humari bhavna hai uske saath. Lekin sawal yeh hai ki BJP hatayega kaun (We also believe in uniting India, we agree there. But the question is who will oust the BJP)?” Akhilesh had said when asked about joining the Yatra.
The remarks by Akhilesh on Thursday echo similar remarks made by SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary on Thursday. The spokesperson had told The Indian Express that it was “unlikely” that the SP chief would join the yatra in view of “party programmes lined up”. He had also said that the party has not received any formal invitation yet.
The Congress party had earlier said that it has written to several Opposition leaders including Mayawati, Jayant Chaudhary, Shivpal Singh Yadav and OP Rajbhar of the SBSP.