The opposition benches cornered Akhilesh Yadav in the UP Assembly for scrapping welfare schemes like free laptops, unemployment allowance and kanya vidya dhan even as the chief minister was left looking for a convincing answer.
“You had termed laptops as ‘jhunjhuna (a child’s rattle)’ and now you are demanding the same ‘jhunjhuna’,” Akhilesh said while replying to debate on budget in the House. He said it was the “most socialist and secular scheme”.
However, when Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya asked why it was discontinued, Akhilesh had no answer even as some Samajwadi Party members pointed fingers towards the opposition benches stating: “Because of you”.
Akhilesh tried to put the ball in the opposition’s court and also targeted the BJP, which he said was a “chalu (cunning)” party which changes colours. “I will see what better you can give than a laptop. Now, even your ministers want to communicate through twitter,” he said, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hi cabinet colleagues regularly using the social media.
The chief minister, however, admitted that he failed to publicise the good work done by his government. “Kaam bahut kiya, prachar nahi kar paye (We did a lot of work, but couldn’t publicise it),” he said. “I can’t say that a family, which benefited by 108 ambulance scheme voted for me. Many schemes were implemented and people forgot (about them) after work was done.”
He also blamed the media for adverse coverage. “Even Budaun rape victims were shown as Dalits. Many leaders including former Lok Sabha Speaker, who never came to UP, also landed in Budaun. I recommended the CBI probe. Can a CM do more than this? After that Etawah and Azamgarh incidents were shown, which turned out to be false. At times such incidents were blown up for political mileage,” he said.
He said media houses publicised news about protests with his photographs. “Does it ever happen in states like Nagaland, Rajasthan or Karnataka?,” he asked.
Akhilesh informed the House that nearly Rs 60,000 crore worth investment is expected due to the recently-concluded investors’ meet but added that he “was apprehensive about investors as Lok Sabha elections were not in favour of SP”. “You (opposition) do not want investment to come. I gave land to every project and many are under construction. Many companies like Amul and HCL have arrived,” he added.
After taking names of dozens of bridges, Akhilesh poining to the opposition said that it has been publicised that there are “four or five CMs”. “See, I took the names of the bridges without even asking the PWD minister,” he said.
In a lighter vein, he took a dig at the Leader of Opposition. “Mauryaji may forget about the bridges constructed during the SP regime, but will always remember one Railway Over Bridge (ROB) being constructed in front of the BSP office.
Mauryaji may face action (from Mayawati) after the ROB is completed for failing to stop its construction,” he said, adding that no such ROB can be constructed in front of his house in Saifai as there is no railway line there.
Targeting the BJP, he said his government failed to communicate with people on saffron party’s propaganda. “They cited poor condition of national highways and passed the responsibility on to us. I have increased the power supply to (Modi’s constituency) Varanasi. Now, at least get the power quota of UP increased,” he said.