Buoyed by a twin thumping victories in UP bypolls, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is ready with a roadmap for Battle-2019. In conversation with Namita Bajpai, the SP chief also shares his views and plans for a
formidable grand alliance against BJP.
Q. BSP's support has really done wonders in bypolls. What else you think went in your favour, or against the BJP in Groakhpur and Phulpur?
A. The BJP has been misguiding people with hollow promises which were never fulfilled. People are annoyed and bypoll results are reflection of that annoyance for dispensation. Moreover, the outcome has given confidence that BJP can be defeated.
Q. The two victories have come as a great morale-booster for your party.
A. These wins have answered all those queries about the Opposition's narrative. I think BJP has given us this beautiful narrative which has paid off. In 2017 Assembly polls, I had woven my entire campaign courageously around the development done by my government. But this time BJP forced us to change our narrative. By calling us saanp-chhachoonder (snake and shrewmouse), they gave us the victory mantra. We used their weapon against them only.
Q. Do you agree with BJP's plea of low vote percentage as a reason for its defeat?
A. The bigger the vote percentage, the larger would have been our victory margin. In fact, it all depends on the swing. If it is a positive swing for a party, it will continue to win but if it is negative, defeat will continue irrespective of vote percentage. Had ballot papers been used and percentage been high, the margin of their defeat would have been larger.
Q. How do you plan to go about your alliance with BSP?
A. It has just taken off. This was just for UP bypolls. But we intend to continue with it. We will sit and thrash out a broader strategy.
Q. How smooth will be seat-sharing exercise and how will you address political ambitions of your aspirants?
A. This time, the issue is different in the country. I have already made it amply clear that I am ready to sacrifice anything to safeguard the parliamentary democracy in the country.
Q. If your alliance continues, will you hold joint campaign with BSP supremo during 2019 Lok Sabha polls?
A. Of course, I will. Now all the hatchets have been buried. I visited her and expressed my gratitude for her support. Then what else is left.
Q. What would be role of Congress in this alliance?
A. We have good ties with Congress and will continue to have the same forever. Though we are regional forces and will play bigger role in UP, Congress is a bigger party at national level and has a national role to play. However, BSP’s national party status is a different issue. So it is also the responsibility of Congress to keep congenial relations with all like-minded parties.
Q. Leader of Opposition and your MLA Ram Govind Chaudhary has claimed that after SP-BSP tie- up, you will look after UP while BSP chief Mayawati will be the PM candidate?
A. I can’t comment as I don’t know the reference of Chaudhary’s observation. But I believe that the alliance was stitched as these bypolls were very important and BSP backed us. The foundation has been laid. The shape of our alliance will be decided later. Political forces across the country are making efforts to cobble up a grand alliance and Congress will also have a prominent role in it. In such a scenario usually the leader is decided only after the tie-up takes a concrete shape. Sometimes, even people decide the leader of such political combos.
Q. What do you have to say about the police encounters to tame criminals in the present regime?
A. They have fared miserably on law and order front, rather all fronts. The encounters have not been able to deliver required results. Criminals are not scared as these are political encounters. Why the police are not apprehending culprits just after commission of crime. I am not saying so. When the kin of encounter victims will approach the national agencies and watchdogs, the government will have to answer all of them.
Q. After one year in office, how do you rate this government on a scale of 10?
A. They just don’t deserve any scale. The track record has been really bad. Children’s death for lack of oxygen, soaring crime against women, ministers levelling charges of corruption, farmers, youth are suffering, teaching community is also unhappy. They promised sky but failed to deliver anything on ground. They have nothing to boast about in one year. Law and order is in tatters. No one is happy, neither their allies nor voter.
The claims about loan waiver also proved hollow. Farmers are still committing suicides in large number in Bundelkhand region and no compensation is being given to their dependants.
Q. Did sulking cabinet minister and Suheldev Bahujan Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar reach out to you?
A. No he did not. But the way he is going vocal against his government and BJP, it seems he is eager to get in touch with me (laughs). I will entertain him if approaches me.
Q. What would be the roadmap of your party for 2019 Lok Sabha election irrespective of alliance?
A. I am planning everything meticulously. I am focusing on booth management and taking issues to people at village level. I will try to go as many places as possible, rest my party cadre will fulfil this responsibility. I have asked senior leaders of my party to have personal connect with people.
Q. Will you contest from Kannauj in 2019, if yes, where will you field sitting MP and your wife Dimple Yadav from?
A. If party will ask me, I will fight. Dimple will not contest this time because BJP has been blaming us for propagating ‘parivaarwad’ (dynastic politics). However, I believe that even BJP is ridden with parivaarwad. Apart from sons of various BJP leaders doing well in politics, even CM Yogi Adityanath’s elevation as Gorakhnath Muthh mahant is attributed to his blood relation with his guruji Mahant Avaidyanth.
Q. Any redefined role for your uncle Shivpal Yadav in new scheme of things?
A. He is our party MLA and will work for the party. Since we are no more in government, so no other role for him either.