AGRA: Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary on Monday ruled out an alliance with the Congress ahead of next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, but added that “talks were on with the Samajwadi Party (SP)” for a possible electoral tie-up.
The RLD chief, who was in Hathras to address a farmers’ rally in Sadabad, the Jat belt in the district, paid a silent tribute to the farmers who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Commenting on the Lakhimpur incident, he appealed to people to snatch the power from the guilty through their votes and termed it as the “best possible revenge for the atrocities on farmers”. “The minister who should be punished by the government was called by home minister Amit Shah in Delhi for a pat on back,” he said.
Chaudhary also said that PM Narendra Modi was silent on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. “The PM could tweet on the birthday of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, but had nothing to say on the killing of soldiers in gunfight with terrorists in J&K or on the painful incident of Lakhimpur Kheri. He had gone to Lucknow but did not say anything about Lakhimpur.”
The RLD chief added that the BJP was indulging in “caste politics”. Referring to the UP government’s decision to set up a state university in the name of Jat king Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, Chaudhary said, “Did they ever visit the Prem Mahavidyalaya in Mathura which is in a dilapidated state?” The ruler had given up his own residence in Mathura in 1909 so that Prem Mahavidyalaya, touted as the country’s first polytechnic, could come up on the land.
The PM laid the foundation stone of the new state university but the land acquisition process is yet to be completed, Chaudhary said, questioning whether it would be inaugurated in five years.
Chaudhary also alleged that 8,300 people were booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since the Narendra Modi government came to power. “There is UAPA in the country against terrorist activities, but the conviction rate is only 2% against terrorists. However, anyone can be booked under this Act, if they raise their voice against the government,” he said, adding that some journalists who were on the way to cover Hathras incident were booked under the Act
“Everyone knows the truth but they are still behind bars,” he said. Atiq-ur-Rahman, a 26-year-old PhD scholar was arrested last year with Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and two others while he was on the way to Hathras to meet the Dalit gang-rape victim’s family. They were charged with sedition and under the UAPA.
The RLD chief, meanwhile, also said the Yogi Adityanath-led government in UP was more inclined to show its pictures on hoardings in every city of the country, claiming that UP is number one. “The truth is that they are number one in crime and corruption,” he alleged.
Chaudhary promised that grants for farmers would be doubled — from the current Rs 6,000 annually to Rs 12,000 — if RLD is voted to power. He said the grant to the farmers will be given under a scheme which would be named after Chaudhary Charan Singh. He also promised to give 3kg of potatoes to Antyodaya ration card holders. “We will also establish a potato export and research centre in Agra,” he said.