Recalling the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said farmers will not get justice as long as the BJP’s “triple-engine” government remains in power.
Along with the BJP-run governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav counted as the third engine Union Minister Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish Mishra was arrested in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
The SP leader was speaking at the ‘Janadesh Maharally’ held in Ambedkarnagar district, where he formally inducted senior Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders Lalji Verma and Ramachal Rajbhar into the party fold.
Verma was the leader of the BSP legislature party in the state assembly and Rajbhar was BSP state chief before they were expelled for “anti-party” activities.
In 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Verma had won from Katehari seat, while Rajbhar won from Akbarpur assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati said taking BSP “turncoats” into its fold will not help the Samajwadi Party increase its mass base and will only weaken it.
Commenting on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, Yadav said it was unforgettable, and that the tragedy was the doing of the Centre and the state, which were assisted in it by Ajay Mishra, who hails from the area.
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri district after being allegedly hit by a vehicle that was carrying BJP workers on October 3.
“The farmers are our backbone, who give support to the economy, and are our ‘annadata’, but the BJP government has cheated them and has done injustice to them,” the SP chief said.
He also went on to attack the ‘Ujjwala Yojana’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship scheme for distribution of LPG cylinders to poor households.
“Due to price rise, the ‘Ujjwala Yojana’ has become ‘bujwalla’ (damp squib) yojana’. And our ‘Baba chief minister’ sometimes is afraid of red colour. Our CM, in order to reduce the price rise, can change the colour of the cylinder or its name,” he said.
Yadav said the recent slashing in prices of petrol and diesel was owing to the BJP’s loss in by-polls, and that they will come down further still if they lose the UP polls.
He stressed the coming election in the state was crucial for democracy, and invoked Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to say the country needs to be run according to the Constitution as drafted by the founding fathers.
“This is also an election to save democracy and the Constitution.”
Yadav said the country got a bad reputation around the world because of the BJP’s “poor handling of COVID-19 pandemic”.
He sharpened his attack against the current chief minister for his promise to distribute laptops to students, saying the world has moved on since and people are carrying computers in their pockets in the form of phones.
He exhorted people to not look up to a leader who does not know how to operate a laptop, referring to Yogi Adityanath.
The SP chief also challenged the government to reveal the figures for the number of laptops distributed in the last four-and-half years the BJP has been in power in the state.
The SP chief lambasted the government for highlighting its achievement in generating employment through advertisements in Delhi and asked people how many of them got any jobs.
He said the BJP government could not finish the Agra-Lucknow Expressway in four-and-half years.
Yadav also hit out at the disinvestment policies of the BJP-run Union government and likened them with those of the East India Company’s.
“What will happen to our rights? They are playing at the hands of the industrialists,” he said.