‘Yogi Govt Tactics Can Break Samajwadis’ Bones, Not Our Resolve’

Dilip Kumar Pandey, 27, president of Samajwadi Student Association, Mau, alleges that BJP won Uttar Pradesh by polarising people and manipulating EVMs

I have been associated with the Samajwadi Party for the past 10 years. I had joined the movement when I was just 18. A year after joining the party, in 2012, it formed the government in Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav ji. In those five years, he brought major developments in the state.

But all his development works were undone when the BJP came to power. The state has been set back by at least 25 years in terms of progress. In this election, we tried our best to win the people’s trust. We aimed to bring back the glory to the state.

In our manifesto, we focused on youths, education, jobs and farmers. We wanted to corner the government on these issues in which they failed badly.

And the response we got during election rallies and roadshows was immense. A sea of the crowd that was turning up to listen to Akhilesh ji was the vindication of his popularity and the change people wanted to see.

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We tried our best to win the elections but we failed. Probably, the BJP was able to polarise people on Hindu-Muslim issues. Or they managed to manipulate the EVMs. I don’t see any consolidated reason that made us lose the elections. I also seriously doubt the neutrality of the election commission. The elections are no more fair in this country. The entire country witnessed how EVMs were illegally ferried in lorries and were captured by our workers. The BJP has manipulated the entire system.

But, this failure has not broken the SP workers rather strengthened us. We are Samajwadis. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but they will not be able to crush our determination. We work among the people and for the people. It’s because of our continuous efforts, the party performed very well in the elections.

Our seats have gone up from 47 to 125. In 39 seats, which we lost, the vote margin was less than 2,000. Similarly, there were around 90 seats where the margin was less than 5,000 votes. The vote share of the party also rose from 22% to 32%. If you consider the postal ballots, 51.5 per cent of votes were cast in favour of the SP alliance.

We are now preparing for the general elections in 2024. The BJP has failed in every respect in governance at the Centre also. They can’t control inflation, they don’t have any foreign policy, China has intruded into our territory and this list goes on…

We believe that our leader Akhilesh Yadav ji will have a bigger role to play in the fight against the BJP at a country level.

Akhilesh ji has a vision for this country. When you meet him, you’ll become his fan. We believe that he can pull this country out of the current problems.

As told to Md Tausif Alam

‘I Want Yogi To Return As CM, And Here Is Why…’

Pratham Raj, 19, a college student and a first time voter in Uttar Pradesh, recounts the reasons why he will cast his vote in favour of Yogi Aditynath

I am excited to be able to vote for the first time as the assembly elections date draws near. For a state as big as Uttar Pradesh, we all need to take our votes seriously. Even though I don’t follow news religiously, you cannot call me unaware. I am a socio-politically aware youngster even if I don’t understand the nitty gritty of politics very deeply.

I would be delighted to see chief minister Yogi Adityanath return to power for a second term. I have been happy with his tenure from 2017-2022. And I believe Yogi ji and the BJP will go from strength to strength in the next five years or so.

For me, the highlights of his tenure are the bhoomi poojan at Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and also the Kashi Vishwanath corridor project. As a Hindu, I feel very happy that my identity is being respected. People might say what they want but Yogi Adityanath has done many things for the state, be it handling Covid well, bringing the crime rates down and an overall lessening of the dabangai attitude. Most importantly, he has taken good care of the education of the youth.

Raj is appreciative of the decicisiveness of CM Yogi (right)

I study in a government college in UP and when even in normal times the education at government colleges would not be up to the mark, I am satisfied that even in these difficult times my education at government college is going well. Government employees have begun to take their work more seriously, because the CM takes his work seriously.

ALSO READ: ‘Polarisation & Pandemic Will Dominate UP Polls’

During Covid, the government did a great job with supplying timely rations to the poor and the needy. No matter which community people belong to, they should appreciate a good job when they see it, irrespective of the party. I agree with what Yogi Adityanath said about this election being an 80-20 fight. Many still do not appreciate even a bona fide project like the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in the state by Yogi just because he carries his Hindu identity on his sleeve.

When I grow up I want to take an active part in politics. I like the decisiveness with which Yogi Adityanath handles matters. His relatively young age also means he understands the requirements and aspirations of the youth. He is a balanced leader in my understanding and the Hindutva factor totally works for me. I am looking forward to see what more Yogi Adityanath can do in the next 5 years.

‘Polarisation And Pandemic Will Dominate UP Elections’

Danial Faraz, 26, a lecturer in Uttar Pradesh, considers Yogi a better leader than Akhilesh Yadav and warns against hate-mongers like Waseem Rizvi (aka Jitendra N Tyagi)

What a time to be voting in! In the middle of the pandemic. The virus has kept everyone on their toes, and depending on the severity of the Omicron variant, the number of people attending political rallies can go up and down. Which is to say that the situation and its handling by leaders might play an important role in deciding which way the wind blows.

So we will have to take each month as it comes until elections are due in India’s most populous state. After the virus, it is polarisation that can sway the votes, and polarising people is something that BJP and its leaders know how to do really well. One would have thought that after the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Poojan in August 2019, there would be no more issues on which people could be polarised, but that is not the case. Polarisation continues and people give in.

If you were to ask me whose tenure I found better between Akhilesh Yadav & Yogi Adityanath as CM, as an individual, I would say Yogi Adityanath. Even though Akhilesh Yadav started the Laptop Distribution Scheme for the youth and the Dial 100 scheme, there were many things that were left to be desired.

ALSO READ: BJP Has Done Good Work In UP, But Polarised Society Too

The Muzaffarnagar riot took place under his watch and people were not brought to task. I feel Akhilesh Yadav has become greedy for power like many others and forgotten to carve his own separate way. There was a lot of biradariwad (nepotism). Yadavs were preferred over efficient people in the administration. I don’t know how his alliances with the smaller parties or independent candidates will work, but he needs to step up his presence.

Faraz considers Asaduddin Owaisi (right) a strong contestant in UP elections

Under Yogi Adityanath, the crime rate has definitely come down. If we don’t go into the means used to bring the crime rate down, then we can say that the lowering of crime rate has proved beneficial to many. One work of Yogi Adityanath government that I really like is the Scholarship Schemes for graduates where 60% marks is the set criteria for receiving aid and students have been receiving them consistently for the past 4.5 years.

I am not scared of living in UP, himmat se kam lena chahiye. Take life each day as it comes. I believe in the Indian Constitution and also believe that a good leader is one who teaches us the Constitution (as in our rights and duties) better.

I feel Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) is the right leader. Many people think he is a polarising figure as well, but I don’t believe that to be true. Just because he takes care of the Muslim community doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for Hindus. There are Hindus in his party. If his party’s results in Bihar elections are anything to go by (a nearly 25% success rates) then he should be able to make headway in UP as well. Many people think he is an outsider and would not have an understanding of local issues, but I believe deep down our issues are more or less the same, given that we are all humans.

It is leaders like Waseem Rizvi aka Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi who do major harm to the whole political landscape. People like him are mere opportunists, ready to go to any length to remain relevant, and the youth needs to be especially weary of turncoat leaders.

I believe youngsters should give weight to the party leader, but also take note of what kind of work their local leader has done. One should give importance to individuals over party. Choose a leader who is good for you.

‘Yogi Has Done Good Work In UP, But Polarised Society Too’

Shubham Singh, 31, IT professional, says the pandemic has shown us how important it is to choose the right leader for one’s constituency

I have voted in every election, ever since I turned 18. I always make sure to take a good, hard look at the work and profile of the candidates in the contest. In the coming Uttar Pradesh elections, I feel the Ram Mandir verdict isn’t going to play a very important role. For, that issue is over and done with; now the voters are looking at everyday issues. The focus is back on poverty alleviation, education, infrastructure development etc.

I have been working in Delhi since 2014, but I return to my home state UP every time I am supposed to vote. However, for the past two years, like most people, I have been working from home. And in these two years I have had a better understanding of the ‘state’ of affairs around me.

As someone who has lived in Delhi, I can see that the communal tension does raise its head many times. And I have noticed the BJP government has been doing some good infrastructure development work on roads and bridges, Rapid Metro Project, Ganga Expressway Project etc. Personally I am happy about the work done on the Delhi-Moradabad Highway on NH-24. Indeed, if there is one state that has benefitted from what the BJP says “double engine ki Sarkar” then it is Uttar Pradesh.

Singh feels the youth must ask questions from their elected leaders

Having said that, we cannot ignore the fact that the groundwork for these were laid by the Samajwadi Party government. Marketing matters a lot during elections. Most people only remember the work done in the last one or two years of a party’s tenure, whereas the public should scrutinise all five years, the choice of candidates etc.

All around me, I see youngsters becoming focussed on entertainment (making short video reels for social media is their favourite pastime). They have forgotten to ask the right questions to leaders, say for example the dissatisfactory employment opportunities in the state.

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Communal polarisation triggered by the BJP is a sticky point for me. But I also feel that the Muslim community needs to be more confident rather than giving in to victim mentality and not being able to see any good work done by the BJP. For example, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a good initiative, yet many people find it hard to praise it.

People need to show exemplary analytical skills in these elections because as the pandemic has shown us, choosing a good local leader plays a very important role in handling a calamity. One should vote as an individual, not as a Hindu or Muslim. Sarv Dharm Sambhav is an important aspect of our lives here in UP. And seriously every reasonable person has begun to feel that the Hindu-Muslim narrative has begun to get a little too much.

Still If I had to choose between Yogi Adityanath and Akhilesh Yadav, I would go with Yogi Adityanath. The crime rate has come down, government machinery has picked up pace. If anti-social elements are scared, so are certain police officials who cross the line.

As about Asaduddin Owaisi and his party AIMIM, I believe it is BJP’s B-Party and is here just for cutting the vote base. Outside candidates don’t have a good understanding of local issues and neither are they able to build a strong connection with the natives. A case in point is Mohammad Azharuddin who contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 from Moradabad, won, and made few appearances afterwards. A local leader should be given more importance, at least he/she can be held accountable by the public. Now Azharuddin is busy with Telengana.

Being rooted is very important for a politician. The youth is aware, but all youngsters need to step up on their rights and duties if we want to see a flourishing political atmosphere where everyone’s issues are well-represented and solved.

Watch – ‘No Money, No Food, No Work’

LokMarg speaks to a stream of migrant workers on their way home in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The dejected workers lament heartless employers and apathetic administrations. Yet, their resolve to reach their families remains firm as they brave the scorching sun, long distance to reach home.