A day after the CBI raided his party leaders and an IAS officer, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for “showing its true colours”. Claiming that the CBI raids were politically motivated, he warned the BJP of tit-for-tat, saying the party is leaving a “culture”, which may be used against it in the future.
“We have the formidable alliance while the BJP has the CBI and other agencies to hound its political rivals. I want to warn the BJP that in future they could be the victim of the legacy of vendetta they will leave behind,” he said.
“I am ready to answer all the queries of the CBI. The BJP must know that the CBI cannot win them the Lok Sabha elections as the investigating agency does not vote for any party. The actual voters are farmers, labourers, workers, traders and unemployed youth and they are waiting for the polling day to teach the BJP a lesson for betraying on poll promises,” Yadav said while addressing the party cadre in the State office of the party Lucknow on Sunday.
“The Samajwadi Party is making efforts to win maximum Lok Sabha seats. Those who want to stop us have the CBI with them. Once the Congress did CBI probe, and I was questioned. If the BJP is doing all this, the CBI will question me, I will answer (them). But, the people are ready to give an answer to the BJP,” he added.
“Now we have to tell the CBI as to how many seats we have distributed in the gathbandhan (alliance),” he said, adding, “I am happy that the BJP has shown its true colours.”
Rejecting Akhilesh’s accusation, the BJP demanded that the CBI investigate Akhilesh for his alleged involvement in a mining scam, claiming his Government was “hand in glove” with the accused.
Rejecting the charge that the CBI’s searches on Saturday in connection with the alleged scam was politically motivated because of the alliance talks between the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, UP Government Minister Sidharth Nath Singh told reporters the BJP has no threat from them.
The two Opposition parties are fighting for survival, he said, adding that those who are “langde-lulhe” (physically handicapped) need “baisakhi” (crutches).
On formal announcement of seat-sharing with Mayawati’s BSP, Akhilesh said it is likely to be announced within a week. However, he maintained suspense on accommodating the Congress in the alliance, which also includes Ajit Singh’s RLD. “You will come to know about it (alliance) in a week or so,” Yadav said.
The SP and the BSP have decided to fight the upcoming national elections together and have already worked out a seat-sharing arrangement to take on the BJP, which along with its allies won 73 seats from the State in 2014. On possibility of the Congress joining the alliance, Akhilesh said a decision will be taken by him and Mayawati.
The CBI carried out searches at 14 locations on Saturday in connection with its FIR against 11 persons, including IAS officer B Chandrakala, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra, to probe illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during 2012-16. Minor minerals are sand, gravel, among others.
“The role of the then Mining Ministers concerned during the relevant period may be looked into during the course of investigation of the case,” the FIR said.
Akhilesh, who was the Chief Minister of the State between 2012 and 2017, held the mining portfolio during 2012-13 apparently bringing his role under scanner, according to the FIR. He was succeeded by Gayatri Prajapati, who took charge as Mining Minister in 2013 and was arrested in 2017 following a complaint of rape by a woman residing in Chitrakoot.
This is the third FIR pertaining to illegal mining cases which were registered on January 2, 2019, nearly two-and-a-half year after it was directed by the Allahabad High Court to probe the issue.
The CBI was directed by the High Court on July 28, 2016 to probe illegal mining in the State following which it had registered seven preliminary enquiries out of which two pertaining to Shamli and Kaushambi districts were converted into FIRs in 2017.
The searches of the agency took place on a day the SP and BSP gave contours of an electoral alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
SP spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary said the timings of the raids raises questions about the intentions of the Government. “The party welcomes the CBI action but the timings do raise questions. Especially since this is coming right after the news of SP-BSP alliance appeared in the media,” he said.
Addressing a Press conference, Siddharth Nath Singh said instead of questioning the time of the raids, Akhilesh should answer why so much “loot” had happened under his Government. “If you loot public money, then law will take its own course,” he said, adding that the CBI is reporting to the Allahabad High Court, which had ordered a probe in 2016.
Singh alleged that Akhilesh’s tenure as Chief Minister between 2012 and 17 was a story of loot of minerals and that he presided over a Government hand in glove with the mining syndicate. He also fired off many questions to Akhilesh, asking him why Chandrakala “violated” e-tender norms and why she was made the District Magistrate of Hamirpur.
“The BJP demand that the CBI should investigate Akhilesh Yadav,” Singh said, adding that he should be called by the agency for probe.