At the ‘Parivartan Sandesh Rally’, the first joint poll meeting by the two parties, Akhilesh and Chaudhary accused the BJP government of anti-farmer policies and politics of hatred, and said it was on its way out. Chaudhary said he and Akhilesh were “together”. “There is no group which is small or big,” he said later, praising Akhilesh as a leader who understood youth and science. “This is a fight we will fight together. It is a fight for all.”
In his speech, Akhilesh, the SP national president, said while BJP leaders were “ekal rangi”, who only saw a single colour, the SP-RLD coalition represented a multi-colour bouquet. “I can see a multitude of red (SP), green (RLD), yellow (ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party) and white (worn by west UP farmers) caps here… Wherever one sees, there are people. The enthusiasm is such that if there was a bigger space, that would have also got filled. The message is clear, that people want change.”
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With the protests over the farm laws in Uttar Pradesh centred in the RLD’s vote base of west UP, Chaudhary said: “Farmers are revolutionaries who made the PM bend. But this came at a cost. More than 700 farmers lost their lives and we all know what happened in Lakhimpur Kheri (where Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son is accused of running over farmers, killing four)… When Akhilesh Yadav’s Vijay Rath reaches Lucknow, the first thing we will do is make a memorial for (the farmer) martyrs in Meerut.”
Akhilesh and Chaudhary slammed the BJP government over “increasing” prices and the “lack of employment opportunities”, and said it relied on divisive tactics to win even as it had failed to fulfill promises. The recent paper leak of a technical examination in the state also found a mention.
Chaudhary, the RLD national convenor, said Yogi Adityanath was incapable of handling the Chief Minister position. “Akhilesh Yadav got Expressways built. He understands science and the language of engineers. The youth of Meerut talk about blockchain, AI. But babaji (a reference to Adityanath) doesn’t understand any of this. If you notice, babaji is always angry. The only time he smiles is when he is playing with calves. In 2022, we must absolve babaji of all other responsibilities and let him do cow service full time. He is unable to handle government files,” he said.
Akhilesh accused the government of selling out in crucial sectors to private players. “Incomes have halved and expenses have doubled. There is no hope for jobs. Ships, airplanes, airports, ports have been sold. When everything will be sold, where will you get jobs?” he said.
Accusing the BJP of spreading “lies”, the SP chief said its government had made people queue up “for fertilisers, medicines, oxygen, and before that, at ATMs”. They would line up again to vote it out of power, he said.
Responding to a question on the alliance after the meeting, Chaudhary said, “Today Yogi ji will not be able to sleep.”
One of those attending the rally, Satpal Singh, 50, from Sisaula, said the RLD had the backing of the farmers, who are predominantly Jat in west UP. “We are inclined towards any party that supports farmers. The farmer agitation has given us a voice and the RLD is at the forefront,” said Satpal, adding that the alliance with the SP would get Chaudhary votes of the Muslims, who are a substantial chunk in the region. “This will be a fruitful alliance.”
The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots had pitted Jats against Muslims, and there has been tension between the two in the region.
Others at the rally said Akhilesh was a credible CM face and the only alternative to the current BJP regime. “The RLD has a long, rich history of standing up for farmers. With the combination of both (Akhilesh and Chaudhary), especially under the present circumstances, they will provide a strong leadership,” Mohd Shahzad (45), who was at the rally from Baghpat, said.
The second joint rally of the SP-RLD will be held at Iglas in Aligarh on December 23, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister, Chaudhary’s grandfather and the tallest Jat leader of west UP, Chaudhary Charan Singh.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the RLD had pulled out of an alliance with the SP and Congress over seat-sharing. While the RLD had gone on to win one seat, the SP was victorious in 47, with the BJP sweeping the elections.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the RLD, BSP and SP had fought together, getting 15 seats between them.
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