Lucknow: As anger over alleged police atrocities on anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters is still simmering in Uttar Pradesh, state’s main opposition party – Samajwadi Party – has fanned the sentiments by promising a pension scheme for the kin of protesters jailed or killed once the party comes into power.
“If our party comes into power at the Centre and in the State, the protestors will be given pension for their efforts to save the Constitution and the democracy,” Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Ram Govind Chaudhary told reporters in Lucknow. He added that the party would protect anyone who seeks refuge.
SP’s announcement is being dubbed as the vote bank politics by its political rivals and critics.
“The Samajwadi leaders are anxious as the Congress is gaining traction in Uttar Pradesh on the CAA issue. Priyanka Gandhi is doing all out efforts to meet the kin of the victims. This is obviously a cause of concern for the SP which derives its strength from the Muslims. The pension scheme promise is nothing but to lure the community,” a senior Congress leader tells FPJ.
Muslim votes play a crucial role in the UP politics. After all, the community constitutes 18 percent of the state’s population.
“Senior Samajwadi Party leaders are nowhere seen in the entire episode. The pension promise is just a gimmick to compensate for their absence This is tragic that the SP seeks to support the anarchists who unleashed violence across the state injuring and killing scores of people and police personnel” Naveen Srivastava, BJP spokesperson says.
Akhilesh Singh, Congress leader too questions the legal basis of the offer. “The governments can offer pensions to anyone but such decisions can be challenged in the court.”
Another Congress leader Anshu Awasthi questions the practicality of the offer. “I don’t think anyone who takes to roads using democratic rights to challenge the government decisions or seek their dues, expect any monetary return for the same. People want jobs. They want industries and livelihood. We would rather work for these goals instead of offering some pension to them.”