Several Opposition leaders on Tuesday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh for detaining former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at Lucknow airport earlier in the day and not allowing him 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, said he had no information about Yadav’s detention.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the “arrogant attitude” of BJP leaders. “Where is the democracy in our country?” she asked on Twitter. “And they are giving lessons to everybody!”
She pointed out that because of the prevailing situation in the country, people are barred from going to places, ANI reported. “Jignesh [Mevani] was also stopped from attending a university event in Gujarat,” she added. “He was threatened by BJP goons and they preach to us. They indulge in hate politics. Never before was this ever done in our nation. It is unfortunate, I condemn this.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condemned the incident. “This is yet another example of BJP’s dictatorial attitude,” he tweeted.
His Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu criticised the “high-handed behaviour” of authorities in Lucknow. “Another instance of BJP’s intolerance against its political opponents,” Naidu said. “Really democracy is in danger.”
Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Pramod Tewari also said democracy was in danger, according to The Times of India.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who has formed an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the Lok Sabha elections, also called the incident anti-democratic and “an example of total dictatorship of BJP government”. “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?” she asked in a tweet. “This is very unfortunate and this undemocratic step will be fought at all levels.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claimed Yadav’s visit could have triggered a row in Prayagraj. “Samajwadi Party should come out of its anarchist attitude and activities,” Adityanath said on Twitter. “Allahabad University had already requested the administration in this matter. If Shri Akhilesh Yadav comes to the Allahabad University campus, the hostility between the student unions might increase and there could be a violent clash and it could lead to threat to law and order.”
There may even be arson and sabotage, he claimed, adding that the Kumbh Mela was going on at Prayagraj. “There is huge gathering because of Kumbh, almost 25-30 lakh people are visiting Kumbh everyday, it can be dangerous....They have been stopped at request of the university,” he added.