Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who recently met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata and agreed on a new opposition front sans Congress, today said the grand old party has to decide its own role.
“Congress is a national party, and we are regional parties,” he said.
Mr Yadav also hinted that his party would contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Amethi constituency, a former Gandhi family stronghold, which his party hasn’t contested from since 1996. BJP leader and union minister Smriti Irani won from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi in the 2019 elections. He said the same for another Gandhi family bastion, Rae Bareli, which Sonia Gandhi represents.
“I was recently in Amethi. Our party helps Congress win elections in these seats, but when there is injustice against Samajwadi Party workers, the Congress doesn’t say a word. Our leaders say we should fight elections in these seats. So, when the time comes to decide, we will speak to our party workers and decide,” he said.
Asked what would be the formula of the proposed opposition front ahead of the general elections, Mr Yadav said it won’t be disclosed.
“We won’t reveal the formula of the opposition front; the goal is to defeat the BJP,” he said.
Mr Yadav also trained his guns on the alleged misuse of central probe agencies against opposition leaders.
“Whichever party stands against them, they send ED, CBI and Income Tax department after it,” he said, adding that the BJP “has a vaccine and a washing machine” and whoever joins them does not have to face probe agencies.
He said the BJP would be politically finished in the days to come, “just like the Congress”, for “misusing” central agencies against opposition parties.
“This what the Congress used to do, and now the BJP is doing the same thing. If the Congress is finished, then BJP will be finished too,” he said.
He also referred to the demand of a caste census, saying people’s problems won’t get resolved and there would be no social justice without it.
“We want the BJP-led central government to conduct the caste census. Several leaders have been demanding it. But like the Congress, the BJP is also not keen on conducting it,” Mr Yadav said.
Akhilesh Yadav met Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Friday. Ms Banerjee will also meet Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha who heads the Biju Janata Dal, next week for a possible alliance that would stay away from Congress.