Why did Akhilesh Yadav not come to pay his last respects to the late Kalyan Singh in 2021 after his death? In Aligarh’s Atrauli area, Babuji’s backyard-in-the-dead was popularly known as the chief minister, a matter of debate for the February-March Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
Kalyan Singh’s grandson and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Atrauli candidate Sandeep Singh told CNN-News18, “I don’t know if there was a political reason or not, elections were also upon us. I can’t say (why Akhilesh didn’t come). ” An exclusive interview on Wednesday. Senior BJP leader and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati arrived to pay tribute to him. Kalyan Singh, The BJP had termed Akhilesh as one who did not show any indecency towards the Other Backward Classes (OBC) Lodh community.
He said, ‘Akhilesh or anyone of his family… there must have been some reason or the other for not coming to his mind. This should not have happened because it is above politics. Mulayam Singh Yadav Was associated with Kalyan Singh for a long time. Akhilesh was the former Chief Minister. He should have come out of courtesy when another former chief minister of the same state passed away,” Singh said.
In the Muslim-dominated Samaspur village of Atrauli, it was a strange coincidence that the main candidate, UP Minister Sandeep Singh and Samajwadi Party’s Viresh Yadav landed for the election campaign at the same time. Yadav won the seat in 2012 by surprise to everyone and fails to remind him that his father had defeated Kalyan Singh from the same constituency in 1962. “So it is a traditional seat for both the families,” said Viresh. But Kalyan Singh did not get a challenge from here for long and Sandeep became the MLA from Atrauli for the first time in 2017, then the youngest MLA.
With the Narendra Modi government posthumously conferring Padma Vibhushan to Kalyan Singh on Tuesday, for which Sandeep thanked the Prime Minister and the President, the issue of BJP respecting its leader and SP disrespecting him has escalated. “It is an issue of big leaders (Akhilesh Yadav is not going to pay last respects to Kalyan Singh). But Akhilesh first tweeted and paid tribute to him. He could not go physically but all our leaders participated in the mourning. We all respect Kalyan Singh and he was a great leader,” Viresh Yadav told CNN-News18.
Some local Muslims asked why Kalyan Singh was given the Padma Vibhushan after questions were raised over his role as chief minister during the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. Sandeep’s father and Etah MP Rajveer Singh told CNN-News18.
Hindutva fight, and 80 vs 20
Sandeep says that Kalyan Singh “fought for Hindutva” but never indulged in discriminatory politics. Viresh Yadav in turn condemns the “80 vs 20” remark made by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “The intention with which the CM gave that slogan was condemnable. We are fighting 80-20 but the 80% we are fighting for are dalits, poor, backward and muslims. They have only 20% who are BJP people, no matter which way you look at it. We are also fighting 80-20 battle but we have the support of 80% poor population,” Yadav said.
Locals of Atrauli say that Sandeep is young and not much connected with the people at the grassroots level, but given his family legacy, he can win. “He hardly touches anyone’s feet. Viresh Yadav is a very popular leader who is very humble,” said residents of Samaspur. Posters of BJP leaders were put up in this Muslim-dominated village. But Sandeep received a warm welcome at the homes of some Muslim residents. Without Kalyan Singh’s shadow, Sandeep seems to be in for an uphill battle.
“Babuji (Kalyan Singh) is not with us today, but everyone in this area considers him as Babuji. Our Atrauli constituency is now known by his name in the country. So whenever I go to my area I never feel that he is no longer there. This is the first election we are going to fight when Babuji is no more with us. But his love and affection are with us and the way he has shown us – my family and I have always been dedicated to our field. We will continue to serve our region,” Sandeep Singh told CNN-News18.
While Yadav attacked the BJP for bringing little development to the region, Sandeep cited projects worth Rs 2,000 crore brought in Atrauli in the last five years. “When I contested elections in 2017, the condition of the roads was bad. We did most of the work on the roads and there is no village without electricity. We have expanded the field. The government got only three years to work because for two years the focus shifted to Covid and we wanted everyone to get a vaccine and medicine,” Sandeep Singh added in the interview.
Viresh Yadav says that SP is fighting elections not for development but for respect. The jury is out in Atrauli.