Akhilesh Yadav, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, asked voters on Thursday to assist the Samajwadi Party (SP) become a national party in the following five years by removing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in the national elections of 2024.
He said the people voted for the SP in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls but the BJP snatched away their government and installed its own with malpractices and misuse of the official machinery. “They did this because the exit from Uttar Pradesh would have meant the exit of the government from the Centre as well. That is why they did all that they could.”
He added the Election Commission of India (ECI), an institution they had the highest faith in, also let them down. “The ECI sided with the booth in charges of the BJP. That is why now we have to become very strong at the booth level.”
He vowed to carry on the fight against the BJP regimes in the state and at the central level, even if it meant overcrowding jails. He claimed that the institutions had been taken over by the governments in Delhi and Lucknow, putting democracy and the Constitution in danger.
“[We] do not fear struggle,” said Yadav at the party’s national convention in Lucknow after he was declared the SP national president unopposed.
Yadav highlighted the solidarity among socialists and Dalits, who are enlisting in the SP in significant numbers. He referred the BJP officials as propagandists and liars.
“As we are celebrating Navratis…let us make a prayer to Goddess Durga that the BJP leaders stop lying…Farmers are distressed, but maximum loan waivers were given to Gujarat businessmen…Industries are being taken to Gujarat. Why not to the state [Uttar Pradesh], which gave maximum seats to BJP and helped it form the government at the Centre twice?”
The former chief minister was the only nominee and was chosen to lead the SP for a period of five years, according to SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav. Naresh Uttam Patel was re-elected as president of the Uttar Pradesh SP on Wednesday.
Akhilesh Yadav thanked the party for the trust it has shown in him. “It is not just a post, but a great responsibility. I assure you that for the responsibility that you have given me, even if I have to devote every day of life and every moment to work and struggle, I will.”
He said the SP founder and his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, always wanted it to become a national party. “…we tried and did a lot of hard work to do that…”