Three weeks after giving the BJP government in the state some sleepless nights as she sat on a dharna in Mirzapur after being stopped from visiting Umbha village in Sonbhadra to meet the families of the tribal victims who were killed in a land dispute, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is all set to visit the village this week. Priyanka plans to visit Umbha village and meet the families there on August 13. Last month as she was on her way to the village, she was stopped and detained at Mirzapur guest house. However, she had refused to leave the place without meeting the families of the victims. As she remained determined, the BJP government arranged her meeting with the victims’ families on the border of Sonbhadra and Mirzapur districts. Incidentally, this time she has chosen the date of her visit when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will not be in the country. Adityanath is currently visiting Russia for trade talks and is scheduled to return late on August 14. While Priyanka’s announcement to visit Sonbhadra has given a boost to Congress workers, who think that their party had taken a lead in raising the issue of tribals in the state, the ruling BJP is cautious of the steps taken by her, especially at a time when Chief Minister Adityanath will not be in the country.
Though the Samajwadi Party (SP) has been targeting the ruling BJP, the move by BSP chief Mayawati to make a Muslim — Munquad Ali — as party’s UP unit president and a Yadav — Shyam Singh Yadav — as the leader of the party in Lok Sabha has stunned the SP which banks on its core Muslim-Yadav vote bank. Now, several SP leaders think that their main fight should be against the BSP at this point as according to them it is focusing on the “Yadav-Muslim” social engineering, banked by the SP, so far. Even though the top leadership of SP is still not vocal against the BSP, which was its alliance partner in the recent Lok Sabha election, many in the party have started to believe that if they have to stay relevant in Uttar Pradesh, they need to stop the BSP as well as the Congress from growing stronger, besides targeting just the BJP. Party leaders believe that if the Yadav and Muslim vote bank of the SP shifts towards the BSP, then whenever there is an anti-incumbency wave against the BJP, the BSP would benefit the most and it would be the end of “Samajwadis” in the state.
During the “Vriksharopan Mahakumbh” last Friday in which the UP government claims to have made several records, Uttar Pradesh Police also participated in the drive with full fervour. UP DGP O P Singh oversaw the plantation drive at the Signature building on Shaheed Path in Lucknow. However, there was a moment during the plantation drive, when young officers, who seemed to be very excited about the drive, were rather busy taking selfies and photographs while planting trees. As their focus was more on the cameras rather than ensuring that the plants were planted properly, their excitement did not last long, as a senior officer lightly scolded them for “being obsessed with taking photographs”. They were caught off guard by their seniors, who asked them to first complete the plantation. After being chided, junior officers promptly kept their cellphones in their pockets and obediently said, “yes sir”. Happy with their responses, the senior officers walked off smiling.