The Uttar Pradesh government is facing the heat as the poll drama is slowing unfurling in the state. With State Assembly elections slated for early 2017, political parties, including the main Opposition BJP and Mayawati’s BSP are sharpening their claws to attack the Akhilesh Yadav Government.
The Mathura clashes, that left 29 people dead, including two police personnel, is proving a big blot for the ruling Samajwadi Party. The BJP has trained its gun on SP, criticizing the government for failing to maintain law and order in the state. The Opposition blamed the state government for allowing the 3,000-strong sect Swadhin Bharat VidhikSatyagrahto squat at the 260-acre park for two years during which the members heavily armed themselves.
On June 2, nearly a thousand policemen were attacked in Mathura when they went to evict the cult. The police, who were not equipped for an assault, were attacked with swords, grenades and guns. The squatters set hundreds of cooking gas cylinders on fire, triggering huge explosions that ironically killed the group’s chief Ram Vriksh Yadav.
Last week, there were media reports that the state intelligence had sent report to the UP government over 80 times, detailing about the illegal activities of the encroachers. The reports had stated that the cult group was armed heavily.
However, Akhilesh Yadav allegedly turned a blind eye to the issue, and the intelligence was not passed onto the police department. The death of the two police officers, Mukul Dwivedi, Superintendent of Police, who was leading the eviction drive and Santosh Kumar Yadav, a sub inspector, has raised fingers on the government.
Akhilesh Yadav on Monday justified not ordering a CBI probe into the Mathura violence, saying a one-man judicial panel “will unearth the truth”. The hunt has already started, and in a bid to show action, last week, the CM transferred two top officials – the District Magistrate of Mathura Rajesh Meena and Senior Superintendent of Police Rakesh Singh.
There have been serious allegations against the SP that it let the right-wing sect sit illegally on the land, although party chief Mulayam Singh has tried to turn the tables, saying it was BJP who had sent the sect to Uttar Pradesh right before the polls to create unrest. Meanwhile, Akhileshhas said that the sect chief Ram Vriksh Yadav was no relative of his, while his father Mulayam Singh says Yadav was a goon.
Little has changed for SP since the last polls of 2007. Then, under the rule of Mulayam Singh, the party was criticized for its ‘goondaraj’ tactics. The legacy has moved onto Akhilesh now, and the Mathura clash is only making matters worse for the Samajwadi Party.
With only a few months away from the polls, Akhilesh Yadav needs to get serious about removing the old detrimental tags that can cause serious harm to the party. Merely blaming the state administrative officials and transferring them will not save his boat.