SP president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday hit back at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for accusing the pre-2017 governments of "creating riots", and said he should tell how many cases pending against him were "withdrawn" by his own administration and if they "related to riots".
Addressing a press conference here ahead of the urban body polls next month, he launched a scathing attack on the BJP over "corruption" in municipal bodies, alleged lack of development, waterlogging, encroachment and other civic problems. Yadav, who was accompanied by SP's mayoral candidate for Lucknow Vandana Mishra, tried to corner the state government over the recent murders of Umesh Pal, mafia-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in Prayagraj, asking "who is responsible" for these incidents.
He released a booklet of appeal to voters, making a raft of promises like an urban employment guarantee scheme on the lines of MGNREGS, opening Samajwadi canteens and grocery stores, yoga centres and making gaushalas self-sufficient. He also promised a 'Nagar Bharti Samman' to reward good works in urban areas.
"Urban local body polls are important. Population of the state is rising and so are the problem of cities. These problems are gifts from the BJP as it ruled in the cities for a long time. Mayors in cities were from the BJP be it Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra or Varanasi," Yadav told reporters. "Instead of a smart city, the BJP has given Uttar Pradesh overflowing-clogged drains, piles of garbage, unpaved streets and corruption in municipal corporations," he charged.
Replying to a question on Yogi Adityanath's statement in Saharanpur on Monday that there were "no riots in the state and everything is fine in UP", Yadav said, "He (Yogi Adityanath) should also tell how many cases were pending against him that were withdrawn. Were those cases related to riots?" He said the BJP was deliberately trying to divert attention of people as they "failed" to remove garbage from cities, could not clean drains and provide education facilities.
During his campaign at Saharanpur, Adityanath had said the governments before 2017 "did not have time for anything other than creating riots". "But today there is no curfew in Uttar Pradesh. Now the Kanwar Yatra is taken out. Earlier, fake cases were lodged against the youth but now no one can do that. Earlier daughters were afraid to leave their homes. Today, however, there is a fear-free atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh," he had said.
The Samajwadi Party has often accused Chief Minister Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Maurya of withdrawing cases against themselves. However, speaking in the Legislative Council on March 2 this year, Adityanath had said said he and his deputy have not withdrawn any case filed against themselves.
"Yesterday, an SP leader had given a statement that the chief minister and the deputy chief minister had withdrawn a case against them. In the last six years, the chief minister or the deputy chief minister have not withdrawn any such case," he had said. Yadav alleged the BJP talked of a "triple-engine" government but "cities in Uttar Pradesh did not become smart" even though the party was in power at the Centre, state and in urban bodies.
"There were complaints of corruption in Ayodhya," he said, adding the BJP mayor's name came up in a land "scam" and the ruling party denied him a ticket this time. He said the BJP could not find even a candidate of its own in Shahjahanpur and it fielded Archana Verma who was the SP's mayoral nominee but switched over to the ruling party.
Yadav alleged the BJP government got ponds grabbed in connivance with real estate dealers. On the Umesh Pal and Atiq-Ashraf murder cases, Yadav said, "A witness (Umesh Pal in the 2005 Raju Pal murder case) had government security, and two accused (Atiq-Ashraf) were in police custody, yet they were killed. Who is responsible for this?" "People are not discussing these issues, that is why the CM's addresses (during urban body poll campaign) are going in other direction," he said.
He told the people, "BJP ko hataiye, aap suvidha paiye" (remove BJP, get amenities). On a song released by the state BJP that targets him, Yadav said all these are diversionary tactics. "Though the BJP has been in control of most of the local bodies for a long time, the development works have stopped and people are suffering due to corruption," the party has said in its appeal, adding only scams are happening in the name of cleanliness.
The SP document alleged dirty water is being supplied to people instead of clean water and there is waterlogging, garbage mismanagement and encroachment across the state. There is a scam in the assessment of house and water taxes and the SP will probe it if voted to power in urban bodies, it promised.
"Samajwadi canteens and grocery stores will be set up. Apart from this, the stalled regularisation of leasehold properties will be started again. After SP's victory in the civic body elections, yoga centers would be opened in parks, new community centers would be built and gaushalas would be made self-sufficient. A special initiative would be taken for the health protection of women," it said. The Urban local body polls are scheduled on May 4 and May 11 and the counting of votes will be held on May 13. They are being considered crucial as a a testing ground fr parties before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
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