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OPINION | Can Yogi defeat Akhilesh in Mainpuri, Rampur?

Akhilesh Yadav's cousin and former MP Dharmendra Yadav was going in a cavalcade to campaign for Dimple Yadav, when his car was stopped by police in Kurawali for the routine check for enforcing Model Code of Conduct. Dharmendra Yadav was involved in a tiff with police officers.

Rajat Sharma Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Published on: December 03, 2022 15:06 IST
OPINION | Can Yogi defeat Akhilesh in Mainpuri, Rampur?
Image Source : INDIA TV OPINION | Can Yogi defeat Akhilesh in Mainpuri, Rampur?

The campaign for byelections to two key constituencies of UP, Mainpuri (LS) and Rampur (Assembly), has become quite interesting with UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath leading the charge on behalf of BJP, while the Samajwadi Party campaign is led by Akhilesh Yadav. Polling will take place on Monday, in Mainpuri, Rampur and Khatauli. 

On Friday, Yogi hit out at the Yadav family and said, there are three types of 'samajwaad' (socialism) in the Mulayam Singh clan. Uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, he said, believes in 'lathait'(lathi-wielding) socialism, another uncle Ramgopal Yadav believes in 'capitalist socialism' and Akhilesh Yadav believes in 'opportunistic socialism'.

This was Yogi's second visit in a week to Mainpuri, which is considered the citadel of Mulayam Singh Yadav clan. The byelection to Lok Sabha is taking place after the seat fell vacant due to the passing away of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Akhilesh Yadav has fielded his wife Dimple in the byelection. 

Addressing a rally, Yogi said, Mainpuri is the land of saints and it  needs a 'Ram Raj', not the 'Raj of a Samajwadi family'. He pointed out that the development of Mainpuri is limited only to Akhilesh Yadav's own village Saifai. Yogi described Shivpal's brand of 'lathi-wielding socialism' because of an incident that took place on Thursday. 

Akhilesh Yadav's cousin and former MP Dharmendra Yadav was going in a cavalcade to campaign for Dimple Yadav, when his car was stopped by police in Kurawali for the routine check for enforcing Model Code of Conduct. Dharmendra Yadav was involved in a tiff with police officers. He alleged that police was only checking vehicles of Samajwadi Party workers, and was allowing BJP vehicles to go unchecked. He alleged that 'police was committing atrocities and striking fear in the minds of party workers'. He challenged the police inspector to arrest him. 

"You are creating terror in the entire district and trying to crush democracy and Constitution is being made a mockery, and the people will never forgive these policemen. Every top bureaucrat in the district is terrorizing people. Democracy is being murdered and the people of Mainpur will not tolerate this. They will reply through ballot", Dharmendra Yadav said.

Akhilesh's uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav alleged that the district administration in Mainpuri "at the behest of chief minister Yogi is terrorizing opposition workers. This will continue till voting. Samajwadi Party workers must not fear, they should make back-up plan for each and every booth to foil the designs of Yogi's government". 

Yogi referred to this allegation in his rally. He said, "this is Samajwadi Party's old style. Whenever they face defeat, they either allege tampering of EVMs(electronic voting machies) or blame the police for high-handedness. Wherever they expect defeat, they field Dimple Yadav, as it happened in Firozabad and Kannauj where she lost, and she will lose Mainpuri too."

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said, "Yogi may describe chacha Shivpal Singh as a 'pendulum', but he has learnt politics from Netaji (Mulayam Singh). He knows when and where to strike, and BJP will never figure it out."

Before visiting Mainpuri, Yogi campaigned in another key seat, Rampur, considered the citadel of SP leader Azam Khan. On Friday, Yogi did not name Azam Khan, but his target was clear. 

Yogi said, "those leaders who are crying about injustice and telling lies, must understand that they would have to face the consequences of their action. The courts will decide their fate. Had these leaders controlled their language when they were in power, and refrained from illegally occupying land and buildings, had they sought forgiveness from people, they could have been forgiven.  But they have not yet mended their ways. Time will make them mend their ways." 

Yogi is right. When Azam Khan was a powerful minister during SP regime, he was running Rampur as his fiefdom. He grabbed properties of poor Muslims for his Mohammed Ali Jauhar University. Azam Khan had to spend time in jail. Yet he has not mellowed. 

Two days ago, while addressing a rally, Azam Khan had, out of bravado, said, he was in 4 state governments, and if he had flexed his muscle when he was in power, ' newborn offsprings would have asked their mothers whether they have taken permission from Azam Khan so that we can come out of the womb'. 

Soon after, a case under Sections 394B, 354A, 353A, 505, 504, 509, 125 IPC was filed in Rampur against the SP leader for making this crass remark.  On Friday, Azam Khan, in a sarcastic move, asked his followers at a rally to chant "SP Sahib Zindabad", "CO Sahib Zindabad", "Police ki lathi Zindabad". 

Yogi on Friday reminded voters of the rich legacy of Rampur. He said, "because of one leader (Azam Khan) and his family, Rampur was left behind in the march towards development. This family only plays politics with Muslims, but BJP never discriminates in the name of religion."

Yogi wants to give Akhilesh Yadav and his party a strong setback by winning Rampur and Mainpuri, both considered citadels of Azam Khan and Mulayam Singh respectively. Both these leaders founded the Samajwadi party. 

Yogi has roped in leaders who were at one time close associates of these leaders. On Friday, union minister S P Singh Baghel, who at one time used to be security officer of late Mulayam Singh Yadav, was addressing an election meeting, where he said, "I had a dream last night. Netaji told me, you people must teach Akhilesh a lesson, because he treated me badly during my last days."

Such is the style, tone and tenor of campaign in UP byelections. It is a straight contest between BJP and Samajwadi Party in Mainpuri and Rampur, and both the parties have deployed their full force in campaigning.

If you want to understand the strategies of both parties, you should watch those sitting on the dais. On the dais with Akhilesh Yadav, sits the entire Mulayam Singh clan, including Shivpal Singh and Ramgopal Yadav. They want to give the message that the entire clan is one and is fighting to save the legacy of Late Mulayam Singh Yadav. 

On the dais with Yogi Adityanath, you will notice leaders belonging to different communities like Raghuraj Shakya (the BJP candidate representing Shakya community), minister Baby Rani Maurya and union minister B L Maurya (representing Maurya community), minister Mannu Koeri (representing Koeri community), minister Daya Shankar Singh (representing Rajput community), minister Rakesh Sachan (representing Kurmi community), union minister S. P. Singh Baghel (representing Baghel community).

Yogi is giving a clear message - different communities will join hands to defeat the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan. The results will be out on December 8. 

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