Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav Friday, after alleging that his chopper was halted by the BJP to stop him from campaigning, hit out at the BJP for not fulfilling their promises of doubling farmers’ incomes, providing jobs to the youth and cracking down on farmers. On a bus ride from Delhi to Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh days ahead of the state assembly elections, he spoke to NDTV about law and order in the state, his government’s record and the BJP’s allegations against his party.
“Did anyone imagine that farmers would one day be mowed down with jeeps?” he opened with an attack on the BJP when asked about the law-and-order issues during his previous term governing the state. The people of the state already rejected the old state of affairs, he said about his last term. “Now, we can assure you that we will take law and order very seriously. Strict action will be taken against those who break the law,” he added.
Yadav claimed that the Samajwadi Party, while in power, gave the best police response system to the state. “We gave a structure and also the infrastructure for the state police to work better in coordination,” he said and added that if voted to power, they would seek suggestions from aware citizens and experts on law and order to improve the situation in the state.
Rubbishing allegations of just two and a half people running the government and Azam Khan’s disproportionate influence in western UP, he said one can ask the state police itself who gave them more independence and structural change for the better.
Highlighting crimes under Yogi Adityanath’s term in the state, he mentioned the Hathras rape case and the businessman killed by the police in Gorakhpur. Mr Yadav accused the BJP government of cracking down on farmers and filing cases against thousands of youths in Prayagraj when they protested for jobs.
On the controversial leader Nahid Hasan, who has been fielded by his party from the Kairana assembly seat, he hinted that the BJP had filed false cases. “We should all trust the courts. Anyone can file cases, doesn’t mean you become a criminal. The BJP has regularly filed serious cases against political people,” he said, pointing out that even students have been booked under the National Security Act.
“He is the first chief minister in the state to withdraw all cases against himself and even his deputy,” he said in a direct attack on Yogi Adityanath.
The Samajwadi chief emphasised the issue of the doubling of farmers’ income, employment for youth, and investment in the state.
“Even after grand exhibitions, did we get any investment? Did Muzaffarnagar get a single new factory?” he asked.
On BJP’s open invitation to Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, Mr Yadav said that farmers have “shut the door” to the BJP this time.
“The farmers here are taking this election as one of their self-respect and pride. It’s also an election to further the legacy of former prime minister and farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh,” he said, with ally Jayant Chaudhary by his side. The former PM was the grandfather of the young RLD chief.
“BJP insulted farmers here, lathi-charged them. Many were killed. BJP leaders were calling them terrorists and goons,” Akhilesh Yadav said, claiming the Centre’s response to the massive farmers’ agitation has angered them.
With inputs from NDTV