Samajwadi Party chief and UP former CM Akhilesh Yadav addresses a press conference in Bhopal. (Source: PTI)

Akhilesh Yadav On Whether Samajwadi Party Backs Rahul Gandhi As Prime Minister

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today avoided a direct reply when asked whether his party would support Rahul Gandhi as prime minister.

“The country wants to see a new government at the centre. People want to see a new prime minister. You will see a new prime minister after the elections,” he said when asked whether he saw himself or the Congress president as the next prime minister.

Asked specifically if his party would support Rahul Gandhi for the PM’s post—if a non-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition gets the chance to form a government after the 2019 elections—Yadav, speaking at a press conference in Bhopal, repeated his reply.

He, however, said during the recent by-elections in Kairana and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress supported the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

“Whenever the Congress people talk, they talk very sweetly,” he said.

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On the possibility of an SP-BSP alliance for next year’s general election, Yadav said, “You will soon learn about a (new) coalition.” “The BJP has formed a coalition with 47 political parties at the centre. We are also in favour of a coalition.”

The BJP won the last assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, in which his government was ousted, by “dividing society on the basis of caste and religion”, he alleged.

He enjoyed good relations with BSP supremo Mayawati, Yadav said, adding the SP was with “all the forces which are fighting for social justice”.

He parried a question on his party’s stand on the triple talaq bill in Parliament. “You will come to know our stand whenever the bill comes up for discussion,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.

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Talking about the Union government’s Ganga clean-up drive, Yadav said the BJP had “deceived” the holy river, which is now more polluted than ever.

The river cannot be cleaned unless its tributaries are cleaned up, he said.

The BJP was publicising development projects carried out by the SP government in Uttar Pradesh, he said.

“The prime minister is inaugurating schemes and development works executed by the SP government,” Yadav said.

He also alleged that the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh had cheated farmers with “a false promise of farm loan waiver”.