Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was conspicuous by his absence from the demonstration staged by his party in the state capital on Friday.
The SP chief steered the state-wide demonstrations by his party through Twitter.
Akhilesh Yadav had given the call for state-wide protest on Friday against the Yogi Adityanath government over law and order and 25 other issues, including Unnao rape case and the attack on its victim at the behest of MLA Kuldeep Sengar who has now been expelled from Bharatiya Janata Party, hike in diesel and petrol prices, harassment and false cases against SP leaders, farmers’ issues, scrapping of EVMs, unemployment, atrocities on minorities, fake encounters and poor health services.
Senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, leader of opposition in Assembly Ram Govind Chowdhary, party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and former ministers led the protest demonstrations in their respective districts.
Akhilesh Yadav was in Lucknow on Friday and he preferred to monitor the agitation from party office and later from his residence.
The SP cadre staged demonstrations at all district headquarters and submitted memorandum to addressed to the UP Governor, the district magistrates.
The protests turned violent in some areas, leaving many people injured after police resorted to lathi-charge.
Alleging that jungle raj prevailed in Uttar Pradesh, SP MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said, “The UP government is sleeping; it needs to wake up. The crime graph is soaring high.”
A senior SP leader said, “Our party was once known for its protests but with time and circumstances that has become rare now. In order to revive the party and its frontal organisations, this protest was organised. It will not only energise the cadre but also give a message to the party members that the party stands with them at a time when they are being targeted by the ruling party.”
On Akhilesh Yadav’s absence from the protest, the leader said, “He will be seen on ground soon, we have bigger plans for him.”
The state-wide SP protest is also being seen as a part of a strategy to revive the party, especially the youth wing, ahead of the crucial bypolls to 13 Assembly seats and the 2022 UP Assembly elections.
On the other hand, Bahujan Samaj Party, which parted ways with SP after poor results in the Lok Sabha polls, is busy making all the equations right. The SP and the BSP had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in alliance, contesting 37 and 38 seats, respectively, while leaving three seats for their junior alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal and two seats — Amethi and Rae Bareli — for the Congress.
The SP chief had earlier directed the party cadre of western UP districts to march to Rampur on August 1 in support of senior SP leader and MP Mohammad Azam Khan.