Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav promised on Sunday (January 16) that if he is voted to power in the upcoming UP elections, a caste-based census will be conducted in the state and castes will be given social justice according to their share in the population.
At an event in Lucknow, Yadav said, “This government is counting trees, counting animals but why is it not counting the backwards in the population. I want that caste census be done so that the backwards get benefits as per their share in the population.”
Meanwhile, another former UP minister Dara Singh Chauhan, (who also belonged to the backward community) formally joined the SP at the event. Yadav welcomed him into the party.
The Samajwadi chief went on to mock Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and accused him of trying to get votes by having lunch at a Dalit’s house in Gorakhpur on Makar Sankranti. He added that everyone must have seen how the BJP leader ate ‘khichdi’ with so much “disinterest”.
“He must be remembering, oh we forgot to send shampoo, soap (for the family to have a wash beforehand),” said Yadav with sarcasm.
Also read: UP defections reflect BJP’s inability to practise inclusive politics
As a number of legislators from the ruling camp are crossing over to the SP just before an extremely critical assembly polls, Yadav said, “There is a saying in English ‘strike the iron when it is hot’. So, we decided to welcome these leaders into the party at the right time.” And added that the BJP does not understand English, and if they did, they would go into a “depression”.
Besides Dara Singh Chauhan, who had resigned from Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet on Wednesday, another sitting MLA of BJP ally Apna Dal-S, RK Verma, also joined the Yadav-led party.
Welcoming the politicians who had jumped ship, Yadav said that he congratulated them for joining them in their fight to defeat and oust BJP. He urged them to fight the polls in a way that the BJP candidates would forfeit their poll deposits.
Earlier in the week, in a major setback for the BJP, a prominent OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya quit the cabinet and joined the SP. The SP, which decided not to ally with major parties like the Congress, has teamed up with smaller parties for this 2022 assembly polls. The SP is posing the biggest challenge to the ruling BJP in the state.
Uttar Pradesh assembly elections will be held in seven phases from February 10 to March 7 and the result will be declared with four other states on March 10.