With the promise of tackling the issues surrounding three Bs in Uttar Pradesh — Baba Mukhyamantri, bulls and bulldozer — Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday kicked off his “vijay rath yatra” from Kanpur to Hamirpur as he intensified his campaign for the 2022 Assembly polls a decade after he was elected to power with a full majority government.
“Baba Mukhyamantri lautke wapas nahi ayenge. Inke saath bull bhi chala jayega aur bull dozer bhi chala jayega. [The Baba Chief Minister will not return. Along with him, the bull and the bulldozer will also be gone],” Mr. Yadav said at a public meeting in Ghatampur along his way atop a bus converted into a rath. Supporters in large numbers turned up to greet the former CM who hopes to challenge a dominant BJP in the upcoming election. “U.P. ka ye janadesh, aa rahe hai Akhilesh [UP’s mandate, Akhilesh is coming],” the slogan dominated the yatra.
While “Baba Mukhyamantri” is a reference to CM Yogi Adityanath, who is a politician and also the head priest of the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur, the bulls refer to the menace of stray cattle which have been causing trouble to both farmers and commuters and bulldozers refer to target the State Government for its spree of demolition of property of both alleged criminals and the Opposition party leaders.
While Mr. Adityanath was roaming with a bull dozer, bulls were roaming the streets of U.P., Mr. Yadav said, adding that several persons had lost their lives because of stray cattle apart from the trouble caused by them to the crops.
Mr. Yadav also referred to the Lakhimpur incident where four farmers were mowed down by vehicles in the convoy of Union Minister of State For Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra, whose son Ashish Mishra is under arrest in connection with the murder charges levelled against him by farmers. A local journalist and three BJP workers also died in the incident on October 3.
BJP crushed farmers and also the law
The BJP “not only crushed farmers but also the law,” Mr. Yadav said holding the Minister and his son directly responsible. Mr. Yadav said though the farmers had got some form of justice after the SP and other parties stood up for them, it was “still incomplete”.
“Can anyone imagine that the Union Minister of State For Home Affairs and his son will be involved and farmers will get justice,” Mr. Yadav asked, accusing Mr. Mishra of being arrogant for not resigning over the allegations.
Mr. Ajay Mishra was not being dismissed by the BJP because the party held Governments in both the Centre and the State, Mr. Yadav said, as he promised to wipe out the BJP from U.P.
Reaching out to Dalit and OBC voters, Mr. Yadav said under the BJP all governments institutes were being sold and given to private hands.
“How will you get jobs and reservation,” he asked these communities, who form the bulk of the State’s electorate at over 60%.
‘Corruption has increased’
Mr. Yadav got the yatra flagged off by Khajanchi, a boy who was born in a bank during demonetisation, in a symbolic attack on the government decision, which he said had not reduced corruption but increased it. “How much black money returned to India? It has increased today, so has corruption.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Yadav will continue his journey in Hamirpur, Jalaun and Kanpur Dehat.