Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday said the BJP would never act against the Union minister whose son has been arrested in connection with the October 3, 2021 deaths in Lakhimpur Kheri as it "stands with criminals", who are the happiest under the current regime.
In an indirect reference to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he used the term "chillumjeevi". 'Chillum' is a smoking pipe often used by sadhus.
On his Vijay Rath Yatra in Hamirpur, Akhilesh said Adityanath has a liking for two things -- the bull and the bulldozer -- but the people of Bundelkhand have decided that the steering of the bulldozer, which is in their hands, will be snatched from him in next year's assembly election.
"They will run the bulldozer of votes on the BJP in the coming polls," he said.
Yadav was apparently referring to the stray cattle menace in Uttar Pradesh and the UP government's drive to raze buildings, the plans for many of which were not approved, in various parts of the state.
"The BJP will never act against the (Union) minister because it stands with criminals. If criminals are the happiest anywhere, it is under the BJP government," he said, replying to questions from reporters on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
Eight people, including four farmers and a journalist, were killed in the October 3 violence that erupted during a farmers protest in Lakhimpur Kheri. Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra is among those arrested in connection with the incident.
Without taking any names, Yadav said the "chillumjeevi" is out to distribute tablet computers among students now and wondered why such an initiative was not taken in the last over four years.
He warned the people against the "chillumjeevi" and asked them if they had understood who was he referring to.
Akhilesh was apparently referring to the UP chief minister distributing tablet computers and smartphones among youngsters recently.
Addressing a public meeting later, the SP leader said, "When farmers protested against agriculture laws, they were crushed under the wheels of vehicles."
Hitting out at the ruling BJP over the three contentious farm laws, he said, "I want to tell the farmers of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh and the country that the manner in which the BJP has brought the three black laws, it will crush you like the farmers were crushed and killed in Lakhimpur Kheri."
"As of now, farmers and laws have been crushed, and the Constitution might also be crushed. So the BJP needs to be removed on the strength of votes," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister added.
On the state of affairs in the water-scarce Bundelkhand region, he said, "Maximum number of farmers have committed suicide in Mahoha, Hamirpur, Banda and the surrounding areas and after coming to power, the SP government will extend all facilities to the farmers here, be it irrigation or mandis."
He alleged that the three new farm laws brought by the Centre will force farmers to quit farming and make them labourers.
"There is very less time left for the election. The BJP does not want to give the backward classes and Dalits their rights and therefore, a caste-based census has not taken place till now. It should be done as the BJP says that Yadavs have benefitted the most. I want to tell them that they are misleading the people," the SP chief said.
Reiterating his charge that projects launched during his tenure as chief minister have been re-inaugurated and renamed by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh alleged that the current BJP regime has sold away government assets.
Akhilesh also alleged that in the name of a defence corridor in the Bundelkhand region, the land of farmers has been acquired but no industry has come up here.
"This is the 'sutli bomb' (damp squib) of the BJP. They had shown the dream of a defence corridor and betrayed the poor people of Bundelkhand. These are people who tell lies and there is a need to be alert about them," Akhilesh said.
"Just think, if a yogi is telling lies, where will the people go?"
Photograph: PTI Photo