Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has told the BJP that its government in Uttar Pradesh should not be so harsh on the Opposition party that it would become vindictive when it returns to power.
“Those who are committing injustice, I want to tell them that the CM’s (Yogi Adityanath) file had come to me (when I was in power). It was said in the file that he should be booked and proceeded against. But we are socialists. We do not engage in the politics of hate and vindictiveness. We returned the file. Now do not harden us so much that when we come to power, we will do what you are doing to us,” the former chief minister said at an election rally in Rampur on Thursday.
Rampur, the Assembly seat vacated by Azam Khan following his conviction in a hate speech case, will go to the polls on December 5. Adityanath will address a rally in the city on Friday.
Yadav’s statements come in the context of cases booked on Khan and the alleged use of coercive police powers in the run-up to the bypoll.
After Khan criticised the alleged excesses by making the audience chant “police zindabad” sarcastically, Yadav said, “I heard slogans of zindabad for some senior officers (of police) here. This must be the first time in independent India, perhaps, that slogans of zindabad are being raised for police. There can be nothing more shameful for police.”
Yadav said the SP and its supporters followed the rule of law and the Constitution, “unlike the BJP”. “Tomorrow even if they seek forgiveness, tell me if the days that Azam Khan and his family spent in jail can be returned to him. Think about it. So I appeal to you that we must face whatever dangers we have to. They have come on the power of votes and they will go by the power of votes. We have no other way left,” he said.
He alleged malpractices in the 2021 panchayat polls and the 2022 Assembly polls by the state government.
“Earlier we saw the panchayat elections where the winners were declared losers and those whom the people had rejected got power. Recently we fought another election (Assembly polls). It was the first time that those who enjoyed the support of the people had lost. And those whose rallies had empty chairs won. It was supposed to be our government. Had that government been in power, we would not have to see such days,” he said.
Claiming that this was an election to shake the government, Yadav said, “You make us win this and I assure you that after 2024, the BJP government in UP will not survive.”
The SP leader also mocked the two deputy chief ministers as being powerless. “The two deputy CMs who are roaming around and calling us mafia are lusting for the post of the CM. I am giving them an offer: get 100 MLAs and we will give you 100 more and become CM. What is the point of being a deputy CM if you cannot even transfer a doctor or your own department’s chief medical officer? There is another deputy CM. His department has been changed. This department does not even have a budget,” he said.
He said the police were scaring the people of Rampur as those who love Khan were in the majority. “Everybody knows that all the cases against Azam Khan are false,” he said.
Speaking of police, he said, “When they saw a possibility that the government may change (in the Assembly polls), these same officers had changed their colours. Because we did not come to power, the police are standing here.”
Yadav said the government had done no work in Rampur that could brighten the future of the next generation. Whatever work visible was done by Khan, he said.
Yadav also reminded people of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident where a car with Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son in it allegedly mowed down four farmers. “Farmers were agitating for their rights. BJP workers and supporters crushed farmers under the wheels of their car. I want to congratulate the farmers and the Sikh people that they joined hands. Once the government realised that it would fall if they came together, the PM came to seek forgiveness overnight and the laws were withdrawn,” he said.
The rally was also attended by Bhim Army and Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad and leaders of the RLD and the Mahan Dal, who all appealed to the public to vote for Khan.