A DAY after Mulayam Singh Yadav refused to campaign in the UP polls as he is against SP’s alliance with the Congress, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said “Netaji’s prestige would get a boost when the SP-Congress tie-up would win the elections”. Addressing a gathering in Etah district — his first rally in western UP after elections were announced — Akhilesh said: “Ghatnakram ke baarey me hum baad me baat karenge. Aap bataiye, kya humne cycle nahi bachai?… Kya humne party nahi bachai? Sarkaar banegi to sabse zyada maan Netaji ka hi badhega (We will talk about what has happened later. You tell me, haven’t we saved cycle… haven’t we saved the party? If the government is formed, it’s Netaji’s prestige that will get a boost.).”
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He told locals and SP workers that it is their responsibility to take the 25-year-old party ahead for the next 50 years. Telling the audience how BJP’s politics, especially demonetisation, has affected the state, Akilesh claimed that he doesn’t have any fight with the BSP, as “elephant (BSP symbol) cannot compete with the cycle (SP symbol), which has the support of hand (Congress symbol) on the handle”. “Batao dosto… ab to cycle ke handle pe panja bhi lag gaya hai to shuruat kaisi hogi (How will the beginning be, as now hand is holding the handle of the cycle),” he said. Alleging that BJP has copied the SP poll manifesto, Akhilesh said: “BJP has only advertised dreams and not done anything to concretise them… Notebandi affected so many businessmen and goldsmiths and businessmen got income-tax notices. People lost their livelihood and BJP is still selling its ‘achche din’ dreams.”
“Arey ye mann ki baate karte hain dosto… Magar mann se sambhal kar rehna kyuki man to bahut chanchal hota hai…. Pata nahi kab kaha pahunch jaye (They talk of mann ki baat… But beware of mann because it’s very spry. One doesn’t know what it takes fancy to and when),” he added. Campaigning in favour of SP’s Sadar candidate from Etah, Jogendra Singh Yadav, Akhilesh told the crowd about the success of his laptop, ambulance and dial 100 schemes. He also spoke about the smartphone scheme and other promises that SP has made in its manifesto. “We have given laptops to each and every family. Hopefully, children are using it for their studies. This time, we will give smartphones to people so that they can be in direct touch with their government,” he said.
“After demonetisation, banking, withdrawing money or even transferring money has been difficult… If banking can be easily done through a mobilephone, then laptops will add value to it,” he added. “We started Samajwadi ambulance service. The Dial 100 for emergency police service was introduced to curb crimes and provide safety to the people,” said Akhilesh.
Akhilesh rebuffed the disgruntled elements in his party, saying real friends are known only in times of crisis. “When it is darkness all around, you come to know who all are with you,” Akhilesh said without taking the name of local MLA Ashish Yadav, who has decided to contest as an Independent, after he and his father Ramesh Yadav, chairman of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Parishad, were denied ticket by SP. “The party has given him a lot of respect… he has the biggest chair of the House of which I am a member,” Akhilesh, an MLC, said referring to Ramesh. Both Ramesh and Ashish are considered to be supporters of Mulayam and his brother Shivpal Yadav.