Lucknow: Ahead of the crucial 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party got a shot in the arm on Sunday when two MLAs joined the party at its headquarters here in presence of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
The legislators are Vinay Shankar Tiwari from Chillupar assembly seat in Gorakhpur, who was expelled from the BSP recently, and Digvijay Narayan alias Jai Chaubey (BJP) from Khalilabad constituency in Sant Kabir Nagar.
Former chairman of the UP Legislative Council Ganesh Shankar Pandey, who was fielded by the BSP in 2010 for the post of council chairman, also joined the Samajwadi Party. Apart from these prominent leaders, a large number of Brahmins from different political parties also joined the party.
The BSP had on Monday expelled Tiwari, his elder brother and former MP Kushal Tiwari and their relative Pandey from the party. They were expelled for allegedly creating indiscipline in the party and for improper behaviour with senior leaders.
Hitting out at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the SP chief said, “In the last four-and-half years (of the BJP rule), work has been done with discrimination. The way in which the British practised ‘divide and rule’, in the same way, the BJP wants to rule the people by making them feel afraid and killing them. In the upcoming polls, the people will teach a lesson to the BJP.”
He said that no one can forget the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur in which eight people, including four farmers lost their lives.
The SP chief, on this occasion, also accused the government of mismanagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that no one can forget the shortage of oxygen in hospitals, floating bodies in rivers and other irregularities.
“People were made to stand in queues during demonetisation, to get medicines and hospital beds during the pandemic and farmers stood in queues to get fertilisers. But, in the upcoming assembly elections, the people will queue up and remove them. Neither are they able to control the bull nor will they be able to control the bulldozer,” he said.
The SP chief said that the BJP government, in its final days, is talking about the election promise of giving tablets to students, which they had made in 2017. “It is being heard that these items could be imported from China,” he said.
To a question that if voted to power, will the SP order a probe into the alleged fake encounters which took place in the current regime, Yadav said, “Let our election manifesto come. It will have a number of things.”
The SP chief also said, “Samajwad is Ambedkarwad and vice-versa because Ram Manohar Lohia and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar believed in breaking the caste system.”
He said that if voted to power, his government will send a proposal to the Centre to make the Gorakhpur University a central university.
Yadav said that if the SP forms the government in the state, then it will build canteens to provide free nutritious meals to poor people.
Speaking on the occasion, Tiwari termed Yadav a “popular leader” and claimed, “This (BJP) government was not formed for democracy (loktantra) but for autocracy (rajtantra), and there is a ban on free speech. This government has also started a new trend of putting its plaques on foundation stones or development work of any other government.”
The government has sown seeds of hatred and has divided the people, he alleged.
Tiwari said the government had set up big hoardings advertising its achievements but the ground reality was completely different.
“The injustice done to the Brahmin community has been the most in this government,” he said, adding that the UP government had started a “policy of encounters” in the state.
Speaking to PTI after joining the SP, Tiwari claimed that as of now, there are only three MLAs of the BSP left in the state assembly.
“In the 2017 assembly elections, the BSP had 19 MLAs but now they are left with only three. They are Shyam Sundar (from Mant in Mathura), Uma Shankar Singh (leader of BSP in UP Assembly and MLA from Rasra in Ballia) and Azad Ari Mardan (from Lalganj in Azamgarh). Rest of the MLAs have either left the party or they have been shown the door. It should be examined why there are only three MLAs left with the party,” Tiwari said.
He claimed that barring one legislator, the rest are heading towards the Samajwadi Party. Tiwari was referring to Vandana Singh who joined the BJP.
When asked why the SP is a favoured choice for those leaving the BSP, he said, “Everybody feels that Akhilesh ji is fighting the war against the BJP and he can be seen fighting this war.”
Rebutting Tiwari’s claims, Leader of the BSP in the state assembly Uma Shankar Singh told PTI, “He (Tiwari) wanted tickets for his family members, and the BSP is categorical that it does not encourage dynastic politics. These are the people who don’t have their own base. They are the rotten fruits of a basket who can possibly make other fruits rot. His move is purely opportunistic.”
Singh also dismissed speculation that alarm bells are ringing for the party ahead of the assembly elections as only three MLAs are left with the party.