Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday suggested that an alliance with Congress is possible in an arrangement where Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi his Deputy.
Akhilesh made the comments in the course of a conversation at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi in the presence of the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. However, Rahul refused to comment when asked to respond.
The UP Chief Minister was replying to a question on whether he was ready to extend his “good” personal relationship with Gandhi to a political level with the Congress.
“You are asking me because I am a Samajwadi (socialist) and you also say that I get rebuked by my father (Mulayam). I also want that Netaji’s dreams are fulfilled and that I work for him. He becomes the Prime Minister and he (pointing at Rahul) Deputy Prime Minister. I am in agreement with this and will make an alliance now,” if it is found acceptable, Akhilesh said, smiling.
However, Akhilesh Yadav dodged a question on whether an alliance with arch rival BSP of Mayawati, like the one in Bihar between former enemies Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav, was possible in Uttar Pradesh.
“Her (Mayawati) choice is that stone made elephant statues come up. So how is that possible? I have already told you my formula,” was Akhilesh’s response, referring to his conditions for a possible alliance with Congress.
Earlier, he categorically said, “there is no talk of any coalition at this point. It’s better if we don’t talk of it now.”
The 42-year-old chief minister of India’s most populous state asserted that any relationship with the BJP or any of its associate organisations was not possible “because of the kind of divisions they produce and the language they use.”
Asked about the “inefficiency” of the state’s law and order machinery in preventing the Dadri lynching, Akhilesh said it was because of the government’s efforts that the “situation did not go out of control the way a section wanted”.
His message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP was that they should focus on taking the country towards the path of “achhe din”.
“People who were showing achhe din have gone to love jihad. Who will decide ones diet or what one wears or says? You (Modi) are going to meet Google (chief) and take selfie with Facebook (CEO). We should forget who eats, wears what and says what,” he said.
On his relationship with his father and former Chief Minister Mulayam, who has publicly reprimanded him in the past, he said, “How can you hold any grudges against your father?”
Akhilesh, who took oath as Uttar Pradesh’s youngest Chief Minister in March, 2012, said the SP chief is fully entitled to guide and suggest ideas to him.
He evaded queries on SP’s relationship with former party leader Amar Singh and firebrand minister Azam Khan, whose recent remarks on the Paris attacks had kicked up a row.
“One is Uncle (Singh) and the other chacha (Khan). And uncle’s relationship with Netaji shall remain the same,” Akhilesh said, when asked about Singh’s possible return to the SP’s fold.
Akhilesh said the media was keener on portraying Uttar Pradesh in a negative light. Did anyone, including international organisations, apologise when the “truth of the Badaun case came out?”
“What is the controversy over Netaji’s birthday celebrations in Saifai? We are not taking the drought situation lightly. We have in fact declared few districts drought hit so as to take extra measures beforehand,” he said.
Akhilesh also downplayed IAS officer Amitabh Thakur’s claims that Mulayam threatened him over the phone. “What he terms as threat is advice for me.”
“He is very clever. Netaji did not know that he was recording. How can have an officer have ideological leanings?” he asked.