RLD chief flays BJP for its poor track record on ‘real’issues

Joined hands with Akhilesh to rejig equation of Charan Singh, says Jayant Singh

Addressing a massive joint rally of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Samajwadi Party in Iglas town in Aligarh district on the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh, RLD chief Jayant Singh chose not to respond to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindutva agenda and instead focused on the poor financial state of U.P., unemployment, farmers’ plight and law and order.

Without taking names, he referred to his early morning meeting with Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait at Kisan Ghat, the memorial of Chaudhary Charan Singh in Delhi, and said those who stood for farmers would work together to uproot the anti-farmer powers.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav could not attend the rally as he isolated himself after his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav had tested positive for COVID-19. State SP president Naresh Uttam Patel and senior leader Saleem Sherwani addressed the rally.

However, in a significant move Mr. Yadav, through a tweet, raised the demand of Bharat Ratna for former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh. Mr. Singh thanked him for raising the long-standing demand of farmers and said the way Mr. Yadav has advocated the case would disturb the sleep of the BJP leadership. “Akhileshji and I have joined hands to rejig the equation of Chaudhary Charan Singh. In some places he will lead the alliance, in others, I will take charge,” he said in the Jat-dominated region, perhaps to bury doubts over possible fissures in the alliance.

Chaudhary Charan Singh emerged as a political force on the strength of the Ajgar and Majgar formula which stood for an alliance among Ahir (Yadav), Jat, Gurjar, and Rajput castes that are socially and economically similar. By invoking Majgar, he sought to include Muslims as well. Observers say the two young leaders have united over the ideology of the late farmer leader, who is the grandfather of Mr. Singh and mentor of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Mr. Singh is actively working to bring the Dalits into the fold too. In Iglas, a reserved constituency, he raised the Hathras case where a Dalit girl was allegedly raped and killed by four upper caste men and also charged the BJP with dragging its feet in the Kuldeep Singh Sengar case. “They want to invoke Chaudhary Charan Singh but they forget that he resigned from the post of Home Minister in 1962 when he was forced to take back cases against political leaders. Here, the CM is withdrawing the cases where he himself was named,” said Mr. Singh.

Claiming that the BJP has cheated the farmers, Mr. Singh said Home Minister Amit Shah had in 2017 promised to establish a fund for farmers in the name of Chaudhary Charan Singh. “Where is that programme? The Prime Minister promised to double farmers’ income in seven years. In seven days, we will enter 2022 but the farmers’ income has not been doubled.”

He reiterated it was the unity of the farmers that made the PM, who didn’t reconsider demonetisation, to repeal the farm laws. “If we are voted to power, on the next December 23, farmers would get double the amount of what they are receiving under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna,” he said.

Following his grandfather’s tradition of sharing data with farmers during rallies, Mr. Singh on Thursday said, “The government advertisements might present a rosy picture but the reality is at present the average per capita income of an Indian is ₹86,669 but it is only ₹41,023 in U.P. You earn even less than half of the national average,” he said.

Drawing a comparison between the SP and the BJP governments, Mr. Singh said, from 2012-2017, the growth rate of the State GDP was 6.9%. This has come down to 1.9 % under the present rule, he said. “It is because Babaji could not read the balance sheet,” he said, reminding the audience of his degree in Economics. “You need jobs to get married. It seems they do not want you to get married like them,” remarked Mr. Singh, taking a dig at Mr. Adityanath, without referring to the marital status of the U.P. CM.

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