BJP to strike while the iron is hot in UP

Party hopes to capitalise on the infighting in Samajwadi Party.

October 26, 2016 12:53 am | Updated November 17, 2021 06:25 am IST - LUCKNOW:

Supporters of U.P. CM Akhilesh Yadav shouting slogans as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and State party chief Shivpal Yadav addressed the media in Lucknow on Tuesday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Supporters of U.P. CM Akhilesh Yadav shouting slogans as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and State party chief Shivpal Yadav addressed the media in Lucknow on Tuesday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Amid an intensive power struggle within the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP plans to strike at the base of the Yadav clan, their home district Etawah. On October 27, BJP president Amit Shah will hold a rally in Etawah. Interestingly, it comes at a time when the BJP has emerged as the common point in the allegations and counter allegations between the sparring Yadav cousins Shivpal and Ramgopal.

“Through a rally in their bastion, we will tell people that while you (SP) are fighting to save your family, the BJP is fighting to develop UP,” BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak told The Hindu .

Rally at Etawah

Mr. Shah’s rally will be held at Etawah’s Numaish Maidan, less than 20 km from Saifai, the ancestral village of Mulayam Singh. BSP rebel Brijesh Pathak is responsible for organising the rally.

BJP sources said a key part of the strategy will be to exploit the family feud in the SP and rake up corruption allegations made by the SP leaders against each other.

In fact, the SP members have not only accused each other of colluding with the saffron party, but have also resurrected the Yadav Singh scam. It is alleged that the family of Ram Gopal, in particular his son Akshay, MP, and his wife, got favours from controversial Noida engineer Yadav Singh’s illegal dealings.

In his letter expelling Mr. Ramgopal, Mr. Shivpal accused his cousin of being involved in a “conspiracy” with the BJP to weaken the SP and tarnish the Akhilesh government’s image merely to save his skin. “To save yourself, your son and your daughter-in-law from the CBI, you mortgaged the SP at the hands of communal forces. To make your conspiracy a success, you held secret meetings with senior BJP leaders on three occasions,” Mr. Shivpal wrote.

Mr. Ramgopal dismissed the allegations and said he was under no threat of the CBI. Going a step further, his son Akshay shot off a letter levelling counter allegations of Mr. Shivpal’s ‘conspiracy’ with the BJP. “Is it not true that Shivpalji had gone to meet a senior BJP leader in June along with a BJP MP? Wasn’t the reception for his son’s marriage conducted by Amar Singh and a BJP MP? Is it not true that he attended the victory celebrations of a BJP MP?” the MP from Firozabad asked, without naming anybody.

Mr. Pathak said the SP leaders, with their accusations of corruption and goondaism against each other, had spilled the beans. “Did we give them the scripts? In sum, we can say in accusing each other, they are accepting that corruption and goondaraj was at play under the SP government. The fight has established that and brought it out in the open.”

The Yadav Singh case puts both the SP and the BSP in the dock. Some BSP leaders are alleged to have had financial links with the Noida engineer, who is accused of amassing disproportionate assets.

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