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Lucknow: National president of the Samajwadi Party and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav is considered to be the face of opposition for the forthcoming state assembly polls. While unleashing an attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, he addressed the media in Lucknow on Saturday. He answered questions raised by The Wire in a quick interview.
You met the families of the deceased farmers [after the Lakhimpur Kheri incident]. Have you sensed any dissatisfaction?
Dissatisfaction is a small word. They are angry. People have been so upset that these people (BJP leaders) might not get entry into the villages. They will be chased.
What is your take on the fact that the ruling party has announced an ex-gratia [compensation] amount but neither chief minister Yogi Adityanath nor Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged the incident while in Lucknow?
It is a matter of shame that the prime minister and chief minister were sharing the dais. They discussed everything under the sun but Lakhimpur Kheri. This is arrogance. And no one has survived with arrogance so far. I have only heard that humility and politeness takes you places.
Law and order has always been an issue in Uttar Pradesh. With the Lakhimpur Kheri incident there is again a big question mark on the same. Your take?
What could this be termed as [but] ‘Jungle Raj’? The MoS home should have resigned by now. His son is involved. Let there be an independent probe for all of us to witness the truth. There cannot be any unbiased probe if he [Ajay Kumar Mishra] continues to hold the post. Also, there are many other issues that need to be taken up, like an 18-year-old boy has broken his back. What is the planning and strategy to help him? This matter needs a thorough investigation, not a surface-level report.
Do you believe that this incident will have an adverse impact in the coming elections for the BJP?
Why this incident? There are very many incidents that are going to impact the ruling party. And above all the arrogance that they move around with. It is in the public domain that the BJP’s 150 MLAs have shouted slogans against the chief minister Yogi Adityanath. [About a year ago, 150 BJP MLAs during the assembly session were dissatisfied with chief minister Adityanath and raised slogans against him.]
If a party’s own MLAs have been dissatisfied and have been shouting slogans against the top leadership, the situation within the BJP can very well be assumed. Apart from this, there are several incidents that prove Uttar Pradesh is not bhay-mukt, it is bhay-yukt.
You think that restructuring the dues under the MGNERGA is strategic planning before elections?
Throwing money will not help the BJP at all. Somebody is brutally killed. They have lost their own. Someone needs to tell them, ‘Look you are not alone in this.’ I was restricted from reaching there and the moment I got an opportunity I reached and met the families. I wonder if people realise that there are certain things that money cannot buy. The humanity in the whole episode is falling short.
Why do you think nothing is going to work for the BJP?
Credibility. Where is the credibility of this party? Look for the manifesto of the party and match it with their performance in the past five years. You will have the answer. Who created 1090? Who got the metro? Ambulance service, women’s security, education. Which field has been remarkable? The manifesto is gathering dust in the dustbin. I would request [people] to relook at the manifesto and compare.