The Samajwadi Party brought together its new inductees on a stage at its office in Lucknow- a gathering it claimed would have run into lakhs had the Model Code of Conduct not been in place.
The first of the newly minted Samajwadis was Dharam Singh Saini, former Ayush minister who said that in Akhilesh Yadav he saw a “practicality, humanity and communal amity that is not seen in any leader of the world”. He said that he joined the party to ensure that Yadav became CM in 2022 and PM in 2024. Saini was formerly with the BSP.
Swami Prasad Maurya, former labour minister said that while he might not have made a party, he had a massive support base. “It is recorded that any party that I leave is not seen after that”, claimed Maurya. His reference was to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from which he had switched over just before the 2017 elections.
Maurya said that the BJP rode to power on false promises made to the backward castes. “They got votes by projecting either Keshav Prasad Maurya or Swami Prasad Maurya as the chief minister”, Maurya said.
There would be a tsunami of change, Maurya said. “This will leave the BJP in the Indian Ocean”.
Maurya used the stage to highlight some issues he had opposed in his time as minister- including the outsourcing of jobs and the appointment of general category candidates on posts reserved for SC and ST candidates. “By privatizing all public entities this government will effectively stop reservations altogether”.
Responding to media criticism that he had resigned too late in the day, he said that he had hoped that the BJP after having been in the wilderness for so long would have better sense to govern. “Now is the time to blast off the party…I will finish off the BJP. It is time to free UP from the exploitation of the BJP”, he said.
When it was his turn, Yadav said, “Though our Baba CM does not know how to play cricket, even if he did, he would have dropped the catch”.
“These leaders do not come alone. They come with their supporters”, he said welcoming new joinees.
He said that in the alliances that the party had struck for the forthcoming polls, 80 per cent of the electorate was already with the party. “Now even the remaining 20 per cent are with the party (SP)…they (BJP) claim they will get 3/4ths of the seats but they will get three or four seats”, Yadav said.
Government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said, “The BJP gives tickets based on feedback…when you know this (that ticket will not be given) you will run. The doors of Akhilesh are anyone open to admit all. We have no objection. The score will still be 300 plus”.