LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav tried hard to dissuade his daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav from joining the BJP, party chief Akhilesh Yadav said on Wednesday and quipped that he was "happy" the SP's socialist ideology is expanding its reach.
Akhilesh Yadav also said he would decide on fighting the assembly polls after consulting the people of Azamgarh who had sent him to the Lok Sabha.
"First of all, I would like to congratulate and extend best wishes. I am also happy that our socialist ideology is expanding. I hope that our ideology will reach there and work to save the Constitution and democracy," the SP president told reporters in his first response on Aparna Yadav joining the BJP.
"Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) tried very hard to convince her," he said when asked if Mulayam Singh Yadav had given his blessings to Aparna Yadav for joining the BJP.
Asked if Aparna has parted ways because of the denial of the SP ticket, Akhilesh Yadav said, "All the tickets have not yet been distributed. Who has to be given a ticket depends on the region and people as well as the internal survey report of the party."
Aparna Yadav is married to Prateek Yadav, the son of Mulayam Singh Yadav's second wife, while Akhilesh Yadav is his son from the first marriage.
She joined the BJP in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and the party's state chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
Expressing her admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Aparna Yadav also said the nation's interest has always been a priority for her and praised several schemes of the BJP government for cleanliness, women empowerment and employment.
There had been much speculation about her joining the BJP, and the development highlights the rift in the SP's ruling family at a time Akhilesh Yadav has been working to rally the party's base in the run-up to the state assembly polls beginning next month.
Maurya was also quick to attack Akhilesh Yadav over the development, saying he has not been successful in his family and was also "unsuccessful" as chief minister and MP.
Asked if he will fight the coming assembly elections, SP president Akhilesh Yadav said, "If I contest, it will be after taking permission from the people of Azamgarh who have elected me as MP."
"I will talk to the people of Azamgarh and will contest the election from wherever the party asks me to," he said to repeated queries.
Speaking about the recent defections to SP and from different parties, Akhilesh Yadav said, "The SP is connected with people who have a wide support base among people. Today as per the requirement and under the political circumstances, no one can compete with the Samajwadi Party."
"The people of UP want a change and they are standing with us," he added.
Reacting to senior BJP leader Laxmikant Bajpai's remark that his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, with whom he mended fences recently, is in touch with the BJP, Akhilesh said, "Two days ago, I held a press conference and said we will no longer break the BJP and all those who want to join then SP will not be taken in the party."
"If some BJP leaders are saying that our leaders are in touch with them, the same applies here also," he added.
"Hum aur wicket gira saktey hai (We can take some more wickets)," he said, while also alleging that the BJP weaned away some of his party leaders by issuing threats to them.
Speaking at length about his schooling at a military school and referring to the Lucknow-Agra expressway built during his government, Yadav said, "It was the SP government which had designed the expressway and tied up with the Indian Air Force for Mirage and Sukhoi fighter planes to land on it."
Referring to the Lucknow-Agra expressway built during his government, "It was the SP-designed Purvanchal Expressway on which the PM had landed on the Air Force aircraft recently. It was the vision of the Samajwadi Party that expressways should be designed such that they have a runway where fighter planes could land," he said.
Taking a swipe at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Yadav said, "It (Purvanchal expressway) was not designed by our Baba Yogi and the Prime Minister knew that he is a 'kaam chori wale (lazy)' CM and so made him walk as a punishment."
Yadav was referring to Yogi Adityanath's pictures walking behind the Prime Minister's convoy amid the security personnel during the inauguration of the expressway.
The SP chief also announced that on coming to power, his government will implement the Samajwadi Pension scheme with an increased amount of Rs. 18,000 annually instead of Rs. 6,000 which was given in the past. He also said there will be more schemes for "daughters, sisters and mothers" in the SP manifesto.
He also dubbed the BJP publicity on social media as "most degrading and full of lies" and said his party is continuously complaining about the same to the Election Commission and police but no action is being taken.
Questioning how the BJP and its leaders knew it would be digital campaigning in these elections and made all preparations in advance, Yadav said, "Election Commission should see into it."
On the occasion, Rashtriya Jansangharsh Party led by Supreme Court senior advocate Bhanu Pratap Singh extended unconditional support to the SP in the coming elections.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)