SP's protest in UP sans Akhilesh

Lucknow, Aug 9 (IANS) The Samajwadi Party on Friday staged a statewide protest against the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh but without its leader Akhilesh Yadav.

SP activists took to streets protesting the poor law and order situation, increase in diesel and petrol prices, harassment and fake cases against SP leaders, farmer issues, scrapping of EVMs, unemployment, and atrocities on minorities, fake encounters and health services and victimization of SP MP Mohd. Azam Khan and his son SP MLA Abdullah Azam.

The protests were carried out across district headquarters in the state and even turned violent in some areas, leaving many injured after police resorted to lathi-charge.

SP MLC and spokesman Sunil Singh Sajan said, "The UP government is sleeping, it needs to wake up. The crime graph is soaring."

On Thursday, Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Yadav, too, staged a protest under the banner of his newly founded political outfit, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia). However, unlike the SP chief, he was present and actively participated in the demonstration.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a SP leader said, "Our party was once known for its protests, but with time and circumstances that has become rare now. However, in order to revive the party and its frontal organizations, this protest was organized. This would not just energise the cadre but also give a message to the party members that the party stands with them at a time when they are being targeted by the ruling party."

Asked to comment on Akhilesh Yadav's absence, the leader said, "He will be seen on ground, we have bigger plans for him."

The state-wide protests are also seen as a part of a strategy to revive the party cadre, especially the youth wings, ahead of crucial by-elections for 13 assembly seats and the 2022 state assembly polls.

--IANS

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