Will not form alliance with SP, says ASP chief Chandrashekhar

Lucknow: Chandrashekhar Azad, president of the Azad Samaj Party (ASP), has dubbed Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav as ‘anti-Dalit’ and made it clear that he is not going to form an alliance with the SP in the upcoming assembly polls.

Chandrashekhar claimed that Akhilesh does not understand the meaning of social justice and accused the SP chief of humiliating him.

“Akhilesh has insulted Dalits. He only needs Dalit votes, not leaders. It has become clear from his behaviour that he is similar to the BJP,” Chandrashekhar said while interacting with the media in Lucknow on Saturday.

He also asserted that the BJP will not be allowed to come to power.

“I have had a lot of meetings with Akhilesh Yadav in the last 6 months and we also had many positive conversations, but in the end I felt that Akhilesh does not need Dalits. He does not want Dalit leaders in his alliance. He only wants Dalits to vote for him,” Chandrashekhar told reporters.

He said that all issues including reservation were discussed (with Akhilesh). “Akhilesh assured me he will respond by the evening (on the alliance issue). But he didn’t. Probably doesn’t want an alliance.”

“For nine years, I have been gathering the ‘Bahujan’ (Dalit) community. Our aim is to stop the BJP. An attempt was made to stop my press conference. My fight is not to become an MLA, but to get social justice,” Chandrashekhar added.

He added, “If Akhilesh comes to power, then it is necessary to discuss the situation ahead. Intellectuals have warned us of possible violence against Dalits. Akhilesh humiliated us after 40 days. He insulted the people of the ‘Bahujan’ community.”

Chandrashekhar said, “In the past, we were finalising things regarding the alliance. We were constantly talking to the SP and Akhilesh Yadav. From what we understood from his words, it is clear that he does not want Bahujans in the alliance. Several issues needed to be cleared.”

“The character of political parties changes after coming to power. Such examples have been seen in the previous government. In such a situation, we are determined to work for the protection of Dalit rights. The SP president remained silent on the issue of our rights.”

Chandrashekhar had met Akhilesh Yadav at the SP office on Friday. The meeting between the two leaders lasted for about an hour.IANS

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Bulldozer and Baba haunt UP’s Oppn parties in the run-up to 2024 Lucknow: The game has begun, but the players and positions remain unchanged. The Opposition in Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in the country, suddenly seems wary of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, mainly because the ruling alliance is armed with over confidence and people-friendly issues, while the Opposition lacks both. The BJP, Bulldozer and Baba (Yogi Adityanath) continue to dominate the political skyline of Uttar Pradesh and there are no prizes for guessing the results of the Lok Sabha polls. Not unless something drastic happens. “What is the fun in a fight if there is no Opposition,” asked a BJP leader, and rightly so. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, by all means, launched the party’s election campaign this week and the Opposition, having sensed the force of the tide, is decidedly afraid to swim against it. The bulldozer politics in Uttar Pradesh has already put the Samajwadi Party and the Congress in a Catch 22 situation. In the 2022 Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party had used the bulldozer to hit back at the BJP in its election campaign and Akhilesh Yadav, in his every speech, had projected the bulldozer as an example of dictatorship of the BJP leadership. SP leaders even drew a parallel between the bulldozer and the excesses of the Emergency, but the ploy did not work. In fact, it boomeranged and hurt the Samajwadi Party the most. The voters, apparently, approved of the bulldozer politics. Post-election, the SP leaders have almost stopped talking about the bulldozer and have reverted to the incidents of crime and the poor law and order situation to hit at the Yogi Adityanath government. A senior SP spokesman said, “The BJP knows the art of giving a communal overtone to all their illegal acts. They have turned the bulldozer into a symbol of Hindu pride that crushes non-Hindus. After the bulldozer, encounters are being used for the same purpose. Why are Hindus not victims of bulldozer and police encounters? Is there not a single Hindu who has done wrong?” He added, “Anyone who opposes the ruling party is immediately branded as anti-Hindu. We have no option but to keep quiet till the people realise the truth.” The SP has already burnt its fingers with the Ramcharitmanas issue. SP MLC Swami Prasad Maurya tried to give a casteist twist to the verses in the epic, but the BJP effectively managed to clobber the SP back by giving a communal overtone to the matter. The issue of caste census raised by the SP has also petered out. Akhilesh Yadav said, “The BJP has mastered the art of giving a Hindu-Muslim colour to everything – whether it is using the bulldozer or taking away the sarus. They claim to have the copyright on Hindutva and it is now for the people to see through their game.” The Congress, meanwhile, is wandering in wonderland. The party remains completely leaderless and directionless in Uttar Pradesh. Former Congress MLC Deepak Singh swears by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s charisma and Rahul Gandhi’s popularity when he says, “The Congress will make a remarkable comeback in 2024. The situation at the ground level is changing rapidly and the party will throw up surprising results in UP.” A senior party functionary, however, said, “What can we do if our leaders don’t define a clear line on the issue. The party president is unconcerned about Uttar Pradesh while Rahul Gandhi does not want to touch the state because his sister Priyanka is in charge, and as for Priyanka, she has not stepped in here since the past one year. As a result, we have also stopped talking on poll-related issues.” The Bahujan Samaj Parry, on the other hand, is wary of rubbing the BJP the wrong way. The party is simply focusing on getting back its cadres together and even the party workers are confused about the stand the BSP will take next year. With opposition parties clearly wary of taking on the BJP, Bulldozer and Baba, the saffron hue is set to get a shade stronger and deeper in the coming months. IANS

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