A day after extending greetings to his ‘Bua’ Mayawati on her 65th birthday, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav gave her a jolt by inducting a former BSP minister and his wife, who is the BSP Mayor from Meerut, into the party fold on Saturday.
On Friday, BSP Supremo Mayawati had announced to go it alone in the 2022 UP Assembly election. In less than 24 hours, Akhilesh snatched away Yogesh Varma, a prominent BSP Dalit face, along with his wife Sunita Varma, to make a dent in Mayawati’s plan to stage a 2007-like comeback.
Former BSP MP from Lakhimpur Daud Ahmed, former minister Awadhesh Varma, ex MLAs Vijay Pal Sing, Vijay Yadav and seven BSP corporators in Meerut Municipal Corporation also joined the Samajwadi Party on Saturday, along with their 400 supporters, in the presence of Akhilesh Yadav.
Significantly, a former BJP MLA Ram Bharati and Vineet Shukla, an ex-RSS Pracharak from Gorakhpur, hometown of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, also joined the SP bandwagon.
Welcoming the new joinees, Akhilesh Yadav said the popularity graph of his party was going up as people of the state are fed up with the policies of the current government. He exuded confidence that many more will join the party in coming days to make the Samajwadi Party grab the power again.
Pooh-poohs BJP’s ‘chanda’ drive
Taking a dig at BJP's ‘chanda’ (donation) drive for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the SP chief said the saffron brigade was making it a ‘political event’ instead of accepting ‘dakshina’ (offerings) for religious purposes.
Speaking to media on Saturday, Akhilesh commented the BJP has mastered the art of turning anything into an event for political gains. “Be it vaccination drive or collecting money for the construction of temple, the BJP knows how to make it a political event,” he pointed out.
“There is a provision of collecting donations in every faith for religious purposes. But it is always in the form of ‘dakshina’ (offerings) not ‘chanda’ (donation). But the BJP has turned the donation drive into a political event eying the West Bengal poll and diverting people’s attention from core issues plaguing the country,” fumed the SP chief.
After creating a flutter earlier on doubts over the efficacy of the indigenous coronavirus vaccine by calling it a ‘BJP vaccine’, Yadav finally welcomed the launch of vaccination drive from Saturday.
He, however, sought to know when it will be made available to the masses for free.