As the BJP and the Yogi Adityanath-led party government gear up to ensure the proposed hoisting of 4.5 crore tricolours in Uttar Pradesh during August 11-17 as part of the nationwide “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign under the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” initiative to mark the 75th Independence Day anniversary, the Opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), have also joined the campaign actively.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday launched a campaign to hoist national flag in every state household from August 9 to August 15 from Jhauvva village in Kannauj district. He also felicitated the kin of freedom fighters at the event.
The principal Opposition party said it would also distribute the national flags among people as part of this campaign. Like the BJP’s, the SP’s campaign is also week-long but the party has chosen to launch it from August 9 to coincide it with the August Kranti Diwas.
An SP leader said that the party commemorated August Kranti Diwas every year and that the party leaders hoisted triclours at their homes and party offices on the occasion that marks the launch of the Quit India Movement against the British rule by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942. He said this time the party has decided to undertake a week-long tricolour campaign on the occasion that also marks the 75th Independence Day anniversary.
The BSP national president, Mayawati, also made an appeal Tuesday to the people of the country to hoist tricolours at their homes to express happiness over 75 years of India’s freedom.
When asked whether the SP was following the BJP in undertaking the tricolour campaign to display patriotism, the party spokesperson, Abdul Hafeez Gandhi, said, “No particular party has the copyright on patriotism. It is everyone’s right to express love and respect for the country. Since this is a special occasion of 75 years of freedom, SP has undertaken a week-long programme. Party workers will reach out to people with appeal to hoist national flags.”
Gandhi also said that the SP’s campaign should not be linked to electoral politics.
Sources said that the SP had sent a communication to its office-bearers and district units on July 31 about its tricolour campaign, asking them to join and make preparations for it. “Party leaders will have to send photographs of their participation in the campaign and execution of the programme to party central office. Party is doing monitoring of the campaign,” said a party source.
Another SP leader said that the Opposition parties are bound to celebrate the occasion as the BJP has been cashing in on nationalism and patriotic sentiments over the past several elections. “If we stay away from the celebrations of 75 years of freedom and the tricolor, BJP will call us anti-national and accuse us of not respecting the sacrifice of our freedom fighters. BJP already targets SP in every election accusing the party of withdrawing cases of terror accused. These celebrations would be our response to such accusations,” the leader said.
Regarding Mayawati’s appeal, BSP leader Faizan Khan said, “BSP has always respected the national flag. But a written appeal through tweet has been made because a silence on the issue can send a message that BSP was against the flag-hoisting programme just because BJP is doing it on a grand scale.”
Khan also said, “Instead of making such appeals to common people, BJP was supposed to ask RSS to hoist national flag in its headquarters.” He also said that if other parties stay away from the triclour campaign, BJP will try to project itself as the only “patriotic political party”.