Yogi govt fooling people, Akhilesh slams BJP over Lalu sentencing

Lucknow: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday accused the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh of “befooling people” and said “instead of wasting time, the party should demand big” from the Centre in its budget.

He said in the coming days he would try to establish SP as a “national party” and would also take out a “rath yatra”, when needed, to strengthen the party.

“The BJP government is only befooling people. Instead of wasting time, the party should demand big from the Centre for the state in its annual budget,” Yadav said, suggesting launch of a bullet train service to Lucknow.

“The same (bullet train) can be run alongside Agra-Lucknow expressway,” he told reporters here.

Asked about his meeting with like-minded opposition parties on Friday to discuss the EVM issue, Yadav said, “We demand that before the Lok Sabha polls, two bye-elections of Gorakhpur and Phulpur be held using ballot papers.”

On possibilities of coalition and alliance with other parties in the days to come, he said the matter would be discussed with other parties.

On his father Mulayam Singh Yadav announcing his decision to contest from Mainpuri seat, presently held by his kin Tej Pratap Yadav, the SP chief said: “The party is behind him. He can contest from wherever he wants. I know from where Tej Pratap is to be asked to contest.”

The former UP chief minister expressed solidarity with jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying the BJP did injustice to him.”

Prasad was on Saturday sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and fined Rs 10 lakh by a special CBI court in Ranchi in a fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar treasury 21 years ago.

SP national general-secretary Ramashankar Vidyarthi said in Ballia that Prasad was facing consequences for not joining the BJP bandwagon.

“He is being trapped in a conspiracy by the BJP. Had he joined the BJP, he would not have to suffer jail sentence,” he said, adding, “I am sure he will get justice from High Court”.

He said it was the need of the hour that all opposition parties unite to defeat the BJP.