LUCKNOW: Making an important announcement, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said if his party comes to power in Uttar Pradesh, it will restore the old pension scheme, benefitting lakhs of state government employees who have been agitating for the same for long, as well as the Yash Bharti awards.
With another relative of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav joining the BJP after Aparna Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav took a swipe at the ruling party, thanking it for ending "parivarvaad" (dynastic politics) in his party.
"On coming to power, the Samajwadi Party will restore the old pension scheme, which will benefit the teachers, employees and officers of the state government.
I have already held discussions with the employees and economic experts and have found out that we will be able to arrange funds for it by creating a corpus," he told reporters here.
"We will seek the support of the state government employees in the upcoming Assembly election on the issue of pension," the SP chief said.
The leaders of the employees' union have met several times and made a demand to this effect.
The BJP government had brought a new manual through which the employees appointed after April 2005 were denied this support and security on retirement, Yadav said, adding that restoring the pension scheme will be part of his party's poll manifesto.
The employees have held agitations demanding the restoration of the old pension scheme.
They have alleged that the new pension scheme depends on the share market and therefore, has uncertainty attached to it.
According to Rajya Karamchari Sanyukt Parishad president J N Tiwari, the number of employees appointed after 2005 is around 10 lakh and most of them are teachers.
The SP president also said his party is against privatisation and termed outsourcing a wrong practice that denies the poor and the deprived sections of the society their rights.
"The rights given by the Constitution of B R Ambedkar are being snatched by outsourcing. The SP is thinking about this as well, wait for the manifesto," he said, adding that the party will release its manifesto after the BJP, "which has been working with a double engine for the last over four years and practising discrimination".
Later, in a tweet, the SP chief said on coming to power, his party will also restore the Yash Bharti awards.
"The old pension scheme and the Yash Bharti samman will be restored on the SP and its allies coming to power and 'Nagar Bharti' awards will be given to outstanding social workers, litterateurs, journalists, artists, sportspersons and entrepreneurs, professionals who create jobs. Bicycle in 22," he said in the tweet in Hindi.
Instituted in 1994, the Yash Bharti award was the highest civilian award given by the Uttar Pradesh government.
The recipients were awarded a letter of commendation, a shawl, Rs 11 lakh and a monthly pension of Rs 50,000 on demand.
However, after the process of selecting the recipients received flak from the media and activists, the awards were discontinued by the Yogi Adityanath government.
When his views were sought on Pramod Gupta, another relative of Mulayam Singh Yadav who joined the BJP on Thursday after Aparna Yadav, the SP chief took a swipe at the ruling party, saying it should be happy now.
"The BJP should be happy about this. The allegation of parivarvaad that it levelled against us, at least it is ending our parivarvaad and I thank the BJP for this," he said.
The saffron party, which has been opposed to dynastic politics, wants to move forward by hatching conspiracies, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister alleged.
"The SP does not instigate differences in any family. This is the work of the BJP," he said.
Gupta is said to be the brother-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav's second wife.
Aparna Yadav, who joined the BJP on Wednesday, is the SP patriarch's daughter-in-law.
"The manner in which leaders with a wide support base like Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan have defected from the BJP and joined the SP, the way the SP has brought different parties together, the BJP has lost this fight of perception and the SP is way ahead," Yadav said.
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in seven phases from February 10 to March 7 and the counting of votes will be taken up on March 10.