Battle for UP: Chandra Shekhar open to post poll alliance with SP, BSP

Chandra Shekhar Azad, the Bhim Army chief and the Azad Samaj Party (ASP) candidate from Gorakhpur, has said that though he is disappointed with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati, he is still open to post-poll alliances with them because his main objective is to prevent BJP from returning to power.

Chandra Shekhar told reporters that he made an effort to approach Akhilesh to stop BJP from winning.

“I respect Akhilesh Yadav but I cannot see people from other castes and religions suffering. He cheated me but I re-emerged as a stronger person and set up our andolan. I tied up with other smaller parties and formed the Samajik Parivartan Morcha. Why should people even vote for the Opposition parties? Have they fought for people or protected them from BJP’s dictatorship? Akhilesh is saying that if elected, he will restore the old pension scheme but why didn’t he do it when he was the chief minister from 2012 to 2017? However, we will see what happens after the elections and will do whatever is needed to stop BJP from coming to power.”

Asked whether he was positioning himself as a Dalit leader, Chandra Shekhar said, “I am projected as a Dalit leader but I am working towards ‘bahujan ekta’. I have fought for various issues like NEET quota, census for the OBC, CAA and NRC. I have set up youth leadership and given the poor an opportunity to work. Leaders like Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati are more concerned about their own politics than people. What did Mayawati do for Dalits over the past five years? Holding rallies and asking for votes is not her only job. She should be standing with Dalits. I respect her but I cannot leave the Dalit samaj to die at BSP’s hands.”

On his contesting against chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Chandra Shekhar said that, “Yogi Adityanath was never a frontrunner for the post of chief minister. In fact, he was not even an MLA. BJP asked for votes on the basis of OBCs but made him the chief minister. An MP from his party has openly said that Yogi misbehaved with him. His other MLAs sat in protest against him. He is a dictator and when people take a stand against dictators, even strong leaders like Indira Gandhi end up losing elections.”

The ASP leader further said that Gorakhpur should not be considered as a stronghold of one candidate or one party.

“People decide who will lead them. Look at what the chief minister has done over the past five years. The Hathras rape incident is an example of what is wrong with the state. The incident itself was horrific, followed by police action in which they deprived the family of the right to cremate their daughter. The government promised the family members a job but nothing has been given. The government says that bulldozers are being run over the property of criminals but what about those roaming free despite warrants against them because they are close to the chief minister. Yogi is not a leader of the people but of his Thakur community,” he said.




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