SAMAJWADI PARTY national president Mulayam Singh Yadav will hold his first public meeting for the 2017 UP elections on Wednesday from Muslim-OBC dominated Ghazipur district, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed BJP’s Parivartan Yatra on November 14.
The rally is being organised by jailed mafia don Mukhtar Ansari’s party, Quami Ekta Dal (QED), which had merged with the SP last month. It would be held on the RTI ground where Modi had also addressed his rally.
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SP state president Shivpal Yadav, who had played a key role behind the merger, reached Ghazipur on Tuesday. Speaking to mediapersons, he said: “Tomorrow’s rally will be historic.”
With QED leaders, including Mukhtar’s brothers Afzal Ansari (former SP MP) and Sibgatullah Ansari (Ghazipur MLA), being key organisers of the rally, SP is expecting a huge gathering of Muslims.
The Ghazipur rally will be the first such public meeting of Mulayam.
He plans to hold 18 rallies — one in each division —- before the elections early next year. Ghazipur falls in Varanasi division and is adjacent to Mulayam’s Lok Sabha constituency of Azamgarh. Mulayam had earlier planned to hold his first rally in Azamgarh on October 6, but it was cancelled.
Local SP leaders said while they expect Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to attend the rally, they did not know whether Mulayam’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav would also be present.
Till late Monday, the district administration and police denied having any information about Akhilesh’s presence in the rally.
“Several senior SP leaders and ministers will be present because it will be the first public meeting of the party chief before the elections. We have a target to gather 2.5 lakh people at least… we will give a befitting reply to the PM’s rally,” said SP’s Ghazipur district president Rajesh Kushwaha.
Afzal Ansari, who was the QED president before the merger, said that the rally will outshine Modi’s
“If I get the opportunity to speak, I will raise the issue of triple talaq and matters related to the Muslim Shariat… Netaji (Mulayam) will not let RSS agenda and Gujarat model applied to UP. RSS and BJP are trying to attack the laws of Shariat and kill innocent people in the name of beef,” he added.
Asked whether Akhilesh and Ram Gopal would attend the rally, Ansari said: “It is Mulayam’s public meeting and it is not necessary that all leaders campaign at one place.”
In Ghazipur district, Muslims are found in a sizeable numbers in four Assembly segments — Ghazipur Sadar, Zamania, Zahoorabad and Jangipur. Supporters from Azamgarh, Mau, Ballia, Varanasi, Sonbhadra, Bhadohi, Chandauli and Jaunpur districts too are expected to attend the rally.