Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav claimed that he was detained at Lucknow airport on Tuesday and not allowed to board a plane to Prayagraj. Yadav was on his way to attend the oath-taking ceremony of a student leader at Allahabad University.
The Samajwadi Party chief posted photos from the airport. “I was prevented from boarding the airplane without any written orders,” he tweeted. “It is clear how frightened the government is by the oath ceremony of a student leader. The BJP knows that youth of our great country will not tolerate this injustice anymore!”
Airport Director AK Sharma, however, told PTI that he had no information about Yadav’s detention.
Yadav said the incident was a “clear sign of how the government is”. “They have lost Uttar Pradesh, but more than an election, they have lost the faith that the youth of this country reposed in them,” the Samajwadi Party leader said in a statement. “They have betrayed the aspirations and hopes of crores of young people in their blind pursuit of creating a monochrome India.”
This came a day after the registrar of Allahabad University wrote to Yadav’s personal secretary, informing him that politicians are not allowed to attend university programmes, ANI reported.
Samajwadi Party legislators attempted to raise the matter during Question Hour in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. “The present regime is trying to kill democracy and stop our leader from visiting Allahabad,” said Samajwadi Party leader Narendra Verma. The party’s legislators also trooped into the Well of the House during Question Hour, forcing Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit to adjourn proceedings for 20 minutes. Proceedings in the Legislative Council were disrupted for 25 minutes during the pre-lunch session.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who has formed an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the Lok Sabha elections, condemned the incident.
“This is anti-democratic and an example of total dictatorship of BJP government,” she tweeted. “Is the BJP government at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh so afraid of the BSP-SP alliance that it is resorting to anti-democratic methods in order to curb our political activities. This is very unfortunate and this undemocratic step will be fought at all levels.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claimed Yadav’s visit would have triggered a row in Prayagraj, the Hindustan Times reported. “Samajwadi Party should do away with its negative activities,” he said. “At Prayagraj, Kumbh Mela is going on and Akhilesh’s visit could have created chaos there. Therefore, his visit was cancelled. The party is known for creating ruckus.”
The chief minister said Yadav had visited the Kumbh Mela 10 days back. “He has been detained to ensure that the situation remains peaceful as Kumbh is in Prayagraj,” Adityanath added.
Yadav said that he had informed the state government about his visit to the Allahabad University in December. “We sent the first programme on December 27,” he said. “A detailed programme was sent on February 2 so that the administration could make necessary arrangements in the view of the Kumbh. But this government believes in ‘roko, thoko neeti’. It stopped me from boarding the plane. This government is scared of students.”