Although Mulayam Singh Yadav passed on the reins of the state to his son Akhilesh Yadav soon after the 2012 polls, Netaji, as he is known, continues to be the last word in UP politics. In this exclusive interview with ET Magazine, he says unlike the Modi sarkar that builds castles in the air, the Akhilesh government has delivered on all its promises. Ergo, it’s going to be SP again, he says. Edited excerpts from the interview:
The BJP election apparatus is coming to UP with its full might. How will it affect SP?
The Modi government came to power on many tall promises. Now it has been more than two years. But they have delivered on none (of their promises). In politics people can say a lot of things. People had a lot of expectations from them. But they are yet to deliver on their promises.
BJP and NDA bagged 73 out of 80 seats in the Lok Sabha polls…
Voh saari hava nikal chuki hai. Ab vaapas aane mein bahut mushkil hogi (That wave is over now. It will be very tough for them to regain that goodwill.
Why are you so sure about SP’s win?
That’s because the Samajwadi Party has moved ahead solely on the basis of its ideology and good work. We have set an example for others. Hamari kathni aur karni mein antar nahi hai (We walk the talk). Whatever we had promised to deliver in five years, we have accomplished in two and a half years and now we are working on projects beyond the manifesto promises — be it the Yamuna Expressway or the Metro rail projects in several cities.
Who is your main opponent in UP — BJP or BSP?
This assembly election is going to be a direct fight between the SP and the BJP. The BJP has been working hard. Now the mahamantri is also from UP. So the fight is between the two.
But it is often said that the real work of the BSP is often under the radar…
The BSP is not even a serious political party. Its only work is to collect money in the name of party — and it has accumulated not one or 10 but many crores this way.
The SP’s core vote bank is Muslims and Yadavs. Are they still with you?
Our vote bank is intact. And our vote bank has not just Yadavs or Muslims; we have all 17 small castes with us. We also have Thakurs, Brahmins and most of the other small castes like Nai, Kumhar, Nishad, Lohar etc. We have supported, pushed and honoured all of them. Like, we have nominated (Vishambhar Prasad) Nishad to Rajya Sabha.
Yet, many allege that the Yadavs continue to hold plum posts in your government…
No. On the contrary we already have representatives from all 17 (small) castes in key posts in our government.
Not long ago, the Samajwadi Party was not ready to ally with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). But now you are meeting him…
I neither tried to reach out to Ajit Singh nor consulted him. He himself asked for time, saying he wants ‘to meet Netaji’. Our relations with Ajit Singh have always been very good. Akhir voh mere neta ka beta hai (After all, he is the son of my leader, Choudhary Charan Singh). We have met him but not purely for political reasons, there are no talks of any alliance.
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