Akhilesh Yadav/Twitter
Akhilesh Yadav/Twitter

Lucknow: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday claimed he was stopped by authorities at Lucknow airport in a bid to prevent him from visiting Allahabad, triggering outrage by party lawmakers in the state legislature and workers outside the airport. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said he was to fly to Allahabad from Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport to attend an event at Allahabad University.

“The government is afraid of oath-taking ceremony of a student leader and is stopping me at the airport to prevent me from visiting Allahabad,” Yadav claimed on Twitter. He posted photographs in which he was seen talking to police officers inside the airport. But the airport director A K Sharma said, “I have no such information.”

The issue rocked the Uttar Pradesh legislature. As soon as Samajwadi Party members came to know about their national president being stopped at the airport, they raised the matter during Question Hour in the assembly.

“The present regime is trying to kill democracy and stop our leader from visiting Allahabad,” SP leader Narendra Verma said.

The members also trooped into the Well, prompting Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit to adjourn proceedings for 20 minutes. It was later extended for the entire Question Hour. When the House reassembled, agitated SP members again rushed to the Well and sat on a dharna, shouting slogans against the Yogi Adityanath government.

“Yogi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi (Yogi government’s anarchy will not be tolerated),” they shouted.

BSP leader Lalji Verma also supported the SP members, saying “there is an anarchic government in the state which wants to suppress the voice of Opposition.” Responding to the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said, “I have sought a report on this incident”.

“The SP leader had to attend a programme in Prayagraj. The district magistrate informed him to not visit Prayagraj as it could create law and order problems.”

Khanna said Yadav was informed about it yesterday, a day before his scheduled visit.

“Law and order is our top priority and we will maintain it at any cost and whatever step is needed for this, we will do… He (Yadav) should abide by law. It is his responsibility. He should not have dishonoured the DM’s orders,” he said.

Khanna said Samajwadi Party only knows shouting and does not want the House to run. He said SP and BSP members “throttled democracy by not allowing the House to function.” As the matter refused to die, the Chair adjourned the House for the day at 12.50 PM.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath later told reporters that Yadav’s visit could have triggered violence between rival student groups at the university. The SP chief was also said to have had planned to visit the Kumbh Mela on Tuesday. Adityanath said Yadav visited Kumbh 10 days ago and had taken a holy dip at Sangam.

“The Allahabad University had urged the government to stop his visit and the government acted,” the chief minister said.

The issue was also raised in the Legislative Council, leading to the adjournment of the House for 25 minutes during the pre-lunch sitting. Amid all this high drama, Yadav kept tweeting that he was “prevented from boarding the airplane without any written orders”.

“Currently detained at Lucknow airport,” he claimed.

“It is clear how frightened the govt is by the oath ceremony of a student leader. The BJP knows that youth of our great country will not tolerate this injustice anymore!” Yadav tweeted.

SP leader Indrajeet Saroj, who accompanied Yadav at the airport, said, “We have been stopped on oral orders. We are asking (airport authorities) to give in writing. Akhileshji had to attend several programmes in Allahabad. The administration did not follow protocol meant for a former CM.”

The issue also generated heat outside the Vidhan Bhavan.

SP workers gathered outside the assembly complex in the heart of Lucknow to protest the alleged detention. Many of them, wearing red caps, also rushed to the airport. Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said the university administration did not permit any political programme on the campus fearing breach of peace.

“Due to Kumbh, there is a huge congregation in Prayagraj. The district administration had intimated the ex-CM’s office and Lucknow DM about the university decision,” he said.

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