With Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi and others from TMC, RLD and AAP taking a trip to Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh after the violence killed eight, including farmers and a journalist, on October 3, main opposition Samajwadi Party seems nowhere to be seen when it comes to meeting the aggrieved families.
Although Akhilesh Yadav and BSP’s national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra will most likely be meeting the families in Lakhimpur today after the UP government’s permission on October 6, SP seems to be not wanting to partake in the attention that Gandhis and other parties have received.
Was Akhilesh late compared to his contemporaries in visiting Lakhimpur Kheri as he was in Shahjahanpur on Wednesday and could have easily visited the spot that is only 88 km away?
This is what Akhilesh has to say
The SP chief told media in Lucknow while leaving for Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday, “The day we wanted to go to Lakhimpur, you know how the administration blocked our way by putting force, blocking our way by bus and trucks. Now, they gave permission, which could have been given earlier. We are going to meet the families and will seek justice for them, though it is difficult to get justice in this government. The families fear that they might not get justice as the accused are the Union MoS Home, under which the police come. I hope the Supreme Court has taken suo motu and will deliver justice.”
On no arrests taken place so far in the case, he said, “Rule of law says that if someone is named in the FIR in such heinous crimes then they should be arrested, but the accused is related to minister in the BJP government so no action has been taken. The government has failed its people and the investigation should be done by a sitting judge. The Kanpur businessman Manish Gupta was beaten to death by police in Gorakhpur but the accused are not yet arrested. The accused and named in the FIR should be sent to jail.”
The SP chief also said only five have been allowed and “we are going to meet the families”. He alleged it is BJP that is politicising the issue and not opposition parties. “Those named in the FIR and eye witness accounts also indicate that Union minister’s son was present on the spot but he has not yet been arrested. You should give up hope of getting justice in the BJP government.”
Parties raced ahead of SP and BSP
Earlier on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi along with sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, his Punjab counterpart Charanjit Channi, party leaders KC Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala met the families of the dead farmers and the journalist.
The Congress may have been struggling to establish itself in UP, which is due for polls next year, but by visiting Lakhimpur before the SP and the BSP, it seems to have gained brownie points.
Trinamool Congress, whose members had silently visited Lakhimpur on Wednesday, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary had been driven in different vehicles taking alternate routes and even by walking for a few miles to reach there. Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was seen meeting the families in Lakhimpur on Wednesday evening.
This is what experts say
Political commentator and veteran journalist Ratan Mani Lal told News18, “The Congress took a very surprising lead in this entire episode. On Day 1 when everyone was stopped in Lucknow, Priyanka managed to reach Sitapur. Speaking of bigger parties, it was only the Congress, which took the lead and grabbed maximum headlines.”
“As per my observation, Akhilesh Yadav had planned all the Yatras in a very managerial way and he looks more interested in pursuing his pre-scheduled programmes because he is probably aware that Lakhimpur cannot become an all UP election issue. Also, it seems that issues like farmers’ protest and Lakhimpur may not have looked electorally advantageous for the SP as the region of Lakhimpur (Sikh dominated) has been in the ambit of Samajwadi Party since starting,” he added.
On how the Congress managed to position itself as number one opposition party in the Lakhimpur case, Lal said the Congress has resources in terms of leaders who can be deputed on any issue, which the Samajwadi Party lacks. “Apart from Akhilesh, there is no such leader, including former ministers, who can get as much footage as Congress leaders like Channi and Pilot can get.”
He also observed that SP “lags behind” on national issues, however, the party leads on regional matters.
With inputs from News18