Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav targeted Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the state assembly Friday, bringing up the price of tomatoes, the menace of stray cattle and the ‘preferential treatment’ by his government towards kanwariyas.
The Leader of the Opposition said the issue of tomatoes makes the BJP leader go "red in the face" and suggested that the government should set up a “saand safari” – a safari park to watch bulls – in Adityanath’s home district.
The five-day monsoon session ended Friday.
Yadav referred to the recent arrest of two party workers in Varanasi after a video on tomato prices surfaced on social media. It showed two men claimed to be “bouncers” at a vegetable shop, purportedly guarding tomatoes.
“A shopkeeper found a way to wake the government up [on tomato prices] by opening up a tomato shop. You not only jailed him, you also sent his father to jail. Is this democracy?" Yadav said.
"You felt the need to use force just because our SP workers said that tomatoes may need Z-plus security?” he added.
“The state government has been forced to set up tomato stalls in Noida, Ghaziabad and you talk of a 1 trillion dollar economy,” the former CM said.
The SP chief said "hatred, corruption, unemployment and inflation" has become its new identity.
Yadav also asked how the government plans to become a trillion dollar economy without improving the agriculture sector.
Speaking on the issue of the menace of stray cattle, Yadav said it has claimed several lives in the state.
"Lives are lost due to attacks by dogs, bulls, tigers and leopards in several districts. Tigers are roaming in fields, farmers not able to go to work.
“People are living in terror. Is the government sleeping or has it shut its eyes?" Yadav asked.
"The favourite animal of the government is the bull. This is a big issue for the farmers and also for those using roads. Why are they not catching the bulls? If not, set up a 'saand safari’ (bull safari) in your own district," he said.
Yadav also questioned the government payment of dues of sugarcane farmers and said it should reveal the amount remaining to be cleared. “Have cane prices been hiked in proportion to inflation?” he added.
Yadav also spoke of the preferential treatment given by the government to kanwariyas. “You shower flowers on kanwariyas, your officers serve them. But why are you not helping those who lost their lives in road accidents during the Kanwar Yatra,” he said.
Yadav added that families of kanwariyas as well as those who died during the tazia processions on Muharram should get help from the government.
"The government should give Rs 1 crore each, be it a Hindu or a Muslim, and a government job. There should be no discrimination against anyone," he said.
In his nearly hour-long speech, Yadav also took a jibe at former ally Suheldev Bahujan Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar. Yadav referred to a Hindi song and told Rajbhar who is now part of the ruling alliance: "Earlier you used to say 'Chal Sanyasi Mandir Mein'. What do you say now?"
To this, Rajbhar quipped: "Mere angne mein tumhara kya kaam hai?" resulting in laughter in the entire House.
-With PTI Input