The UP electorate is concerned about education and development, not “artificial issues” such as “love jihad” and “cow terror”, the newly elected leader of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has told PTI in an interview.
The ruling BJP’s “apathy” towards protesting farmers will hurt the party in next year’s assembly election, Jayant Chaudhary said on Sunday.
“Love jihad, cow terror, Kairana exodus [migration of Hindu families from Kairana in 2014-16] and other useless artificial issues will be rejected; healthcare, education and balanced development will win [the election),” the 42-year-old said.
Chaudhary said the RLD and the Samajwadi Party have a strong working relationship. Asked if a ‘mahagathbandhan’ will be needed to take on the BJP, and whether the BSP and the Congress would be part of such an alliance, Chaudhary said that, for him, issues came first and an understanding of those needs between partners.
“Who can be accommodated depends on who is honestly open to working together on the common framework,” he said.
Asked about the speculation over UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s political future and reports about cabinet reshuffle in the state, Chaudhary said the BJP was trying to divert attention and create an illusion of dialogue to manage disgruntled elements in the party.
”Social engineering doesn’t come about by tinkering with one or two leaders at the top. The fact is that the Uttar Pradesh government has been caught in a caste-based matrix and has not delivered jobs, economic growth, and efficient governance to people,” he said.
The state government’s COVID response has been bad, and no one can forget the scenes of dead bodies in the Ganga, he added.
“Now, after four-and-a-half years of trying to create rumours of change in leadership is a poor attempt to shift focus from failures,” Chaudhary said.
Talking about the farm laws protests and whether they would be a key issue in the polls, Chaudhary said farmers will and should be the biggest poll issue in the country, and asserted that as a class they had been denied their rights for far too long.
“The Centre’s new laws are prescribing a takeover of the entire market and value chain by the private sector and the withdrawal of the government from procurement and subsequent monopolisation will hurt producer and consumer interests,” the RLD chief said.
The “apathy and insensitive” attitude towards the protesting farmers will continue to haunt and hurt the BJP in polls, he said.
Also read: RLD chief Ajit Singh dies of COVID-19
Chaudhary was appointed RLD chief last month following the death of party president and his father Ajit Singh, who succumbed to COVID-19 on May 6.