In the backdrop of the power struggle within the ruling Yadav clan in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav began his Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra from Lucknow to the neighbouring district, Unnao, on Thursday. Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav kicks off the rally.
Here are the updates:
12:30 pm: Before flagging off the yatra, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the families of martyrs. “We don’t want any Indo-Pak war or soldiers sacrificing lives on border, there should be a via media solution,” he said. “As the defence minister, I used to visit families of martyr soldiers. I want our PM to visit their families. I salute families and want to say they might be in grief but they should be proud that their son died while securing our borders,” he said.
11:40 am: The campaign bus faces technical glitch and attempts are on to fix it. The hi-tech customised rath of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today broke down after barely covering a kilometre, forcing him to switch to his official vehicle to continue his state-wide tour.
11: 30 am: The presence of Mulayam, Shivpal and Akhilesh on one platform came days and months after bitter acrimony in the Yadav clan that saw no holds barred tit—for—tat sackings and expulsions of followers of warring camps.
11:15 am: The enthusiasm among the youth leaders was palpable right since early morning with hordes of young party workers donning red cap making a bee line to the venue, the very place where Akhilesh took oath as Chief Minister in 2012.
10:40 am: Akhilesh seen in the bus which is decorated with the images of the major schemes and projects launched by Mr. Yadav during his tenure: the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, Lucknow Metro, emergency services for women safety and health like 108 and 1090, free laptop distribution, etc. The SP’s symbol, the humble cycle, also adorns the bus in the form of a life-size image of Mr. Yadav riding it.
10:35 am: Mulayam Singh Yadav kicks off the rally.
10:32 am: Mulayam urges SP youth to move beyond sloganeering and take to study and contemplation. UP election an election for political change: Mulayam. We dont want our jawans to die but also dont want war with Pakistan; We must find a middle path, says the SP chief.
10:30 am: Mulayam Singh Yadav takes the stage. Indian Army is the bravest in the world, says Mulayam.
10:25 am: Clashes erupt between SP workers in the rally.
10:23am: People hatched conspiracies and we were rattled for a while. Even with the difficulties we will form govt again. The youth is with us, says Akhilesh
10:22 am: We must decide in what hands we want the govt, he says referreing to the Army. If SP brought infrastructural development, it also gave schemes of social welfare, Akhilesh says, listing various schemes in his rule. This election is not just to form govt but to give political direction to country: Akhilesh
10:20 am: Akhilesh Yadav takes the stage. We have done work on the ground and bridged gaps between communities. This is an election for political change: Akhilesh. Netaji started trend of winning public support through rath yatra, he says. Akhilesh to embark on his third rath yatra, calls his a "historic event".
10:15 am: Normal life has been thrown out of gear in the city today, as schools are shut and traffic diversions in place due to the yatra.
10:05 am: Our resolve is to not let the BJP form govt at any cost, said Shivpal who referred to Akhilesh many times in his speech. Shivpal who is SP state president urged party workers to attend SP silver jubilee celebrations.
10:00 am: Rath yatra a mesage of the historic work done by Akhilesh Yadav govt: Shivpal Yadav speaks first, wishing his nephew all the best for the yatra
9:55 am: All Cabinet ministers present on the stage. Shivpal and Akhilesh are seated on either side of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
9:50 am: Interestingly, all expelled leaders of the SP considered close to Akhilesh are on the stage
9:45 am: UP CM Akhilesh Yadav reaches the stage at Lucknow's La Martiniere grounds to embark on his Vikas Rath Yatra
9:40 am: A Mercedes bus has been customized into a hi-tech rath for his yatra today--from the State Capital to Unnao. The yatra will cover 60 km today, and Yadav will address more than a dozen rallies on the way
9:30 am: The yatra will not only test the popularity for the State’s youngest-ever CM but also serve as a stage for him to showcase his strength in the ongoing feud within his family and party ahead of the Samajwadi Party’s silver jubilee celebrations on November 5.