In what could be termed as a ‘boost’ for Samajwadi Party in the Purvanchal region ahead of 2022 UP assembly polls, former Bahujan Samaj Party MP and father of incumbent BSP MP from Ambedkarnagar, Rakesh Pandey joined SP in presence of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav at the party office in Lucknow on Monday. News18 had earlier reported on December 13 about Rakesh Pandey’s secret meeting with Akhilesh.
This comes after the joining of family members of big Brahmin leader Hari Shankar Tiwari into Sp a few days back. The move is said to strengthen SP’s hold in Purvanchal with big Brahmin leaders coming to its fold. Both SP and BJP have been focusing on the Purvanchal region which is said to be the bellwether region of the State assembly polls.
In the 2017 election, the BJP registered a significant victory in Purvanchal as it won 106 seats from this region. It is a common saying in the political circles of UP that the battle for the State is determined by winning the Purvanchal seat. In 2017, the BJP won 106 out of 156 assembly seats in 26 districts, SP got 85 seats in 2012, and BSP got over 70 seats in 2007, all from Purvanchal. This is the reason why the BJP is holding many of its programmes in Purvanchal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also conducted many tours in the region.
Meanwhile, sitting BJP MLA from Bahraich, Rekha Verma along with former MLA Pratapgarh, Brajesh Mishra Saurabh, former MLC Kanti Singh, Syeda Khatun (Bahraich) also joined Samajwadi Party today in presence of Akhilesh in Lucknow.
The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief and SP ally, Om Prakash Rajbhar was also present on the occasion. Speaking to the media, Rajbhar said, “I had said three years back that I will push out the BJP from power. The BJP claims that there is a ‘Gundaraj’ in the SP regime but instead ‘Gundagardi’ has reached a new height in the BJP regime. Even journalists are being slapped with fake cases for reporting the truth.”
Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav welcomed all those who joined SP and said, “I am happy that today prominent people along with a large number of their supporters are joining SP. Since the day I have announced 300 units of free electricity, it has been giving current to the BJP. I also want to announce that if we come to power Rs 25 lakh ex gratia will be given to the families of all the farmers who have lost their lives during farmers’ protest, also we will make a memorial for them.”
“The BJP was rattled after our Samajwadi Vijay Rath ran overnight from Ghazipur to Lucknow. The BJP rolled back the farm laws not because they care for farmers but because they only seek votes. The Baba CM will have to answer a lot to the farmers and the youth from wherever he goes to contest. I am ready to contest from wherever the party asks me to,” stated Akhilesh and once again stated that caste-based census will be done if his party is voted to power.
Answering a question on the recent raids by the GST and IT department on perfume makers of Kannauj, SP Chief said, “BJP just wants to divert people’s attention from core issues and that is why businessmen from Kannauj are being raided. I want to ask one question, who was the one who linked Piyush Jain with Samajwadi Party or Samajwadi Perfume? All those who did so were instructed by someone, even some journalists obeyed the orders. The Jains are being targeted as they come from a minority community.”