“THE PM SHOULD TRY THE NEW EXPRESSWAY. HE’LL VOTE SP”
SHORTLY after the conclusion of campaigning for the second round of polling for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, a confident and assertive AKHILESH YADAV met with Group Editorial Director RAJ CHENGAPPA, India Today (Hindi) editor ANSHUMAN TIWARI and ASHISH MISRA at his residence in Lucknow. The UP chief minister spoke on a range of issues— from the fight within his family to the alliance he has forged with the Congress. Excerpts from the interview...
Q. After the first few rounds of polling, what kind of outcome are you expecting?
Q. Did it occur to you that before the election battle, you’d have to battle the family and the party? A. I had no idea I would face such a situation. But I believe that, in politics, if your goal is big and you want to accomplish it, you need to be prepared for every situation.
Q. Was the humiliating defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election a turning point for you?
A. The SP government began working with full responsibility from 2014, though preparations had begun earlier. It took us time to sort out the mess the previous BSP government had left. Since there was no industrial policy, there were no investments. More money was spent on monuments so the initial days of my government were spent arranging for money in the budget. We had huge liabilities. The previous BSP government had started many schemes; had I discontinued them, I would have been accused of stalling the previous government’s
A. It’s much better than before. I’m sure the SP-Congress alliance will emerge number one with the maximum seats. Initially, there was confusion among voters. But the coalition has allayed their fears and we will get a consolidated vote. Our rivals earlier were talking about victory margins, now they are not sure they will win. It’s evident in their reaction. Listen to the prime minister’s speeches, and Amit Shah’s, and Mayawati’s. The BJP leadership sounds rattled. Just today, the PM said he wants to buy a ticket and ride in the metro. Arre, you are the prime minister, you should know the procedure. You have to follow a 90-day mandatory standard procedure after the train is put on track. If the railways gives us the NOC (no objection certificate), we will start transporting people in the metro from tomorrow.
At least, the public has faith that the Samajwadi Party delivers. Wide roads have been constructed in western UP, electricity is available 24 hours in homes. The ambulance service is trusted. A modern police control room has been established for the first time, the police are on call and can reach any spot in 10-15 minutes. Medical colleges have been built. The Samajwadi pension scheme is on. The laptop scheme has been a success. The improvements are visible to the people. It has created an environment in favour of the SP... and our getting together with the Congress has given us the image of being a progressive party. It has provided a strong, secular platform.