Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav at the NDTV youth conclave in New Delhi on Sunday, September 16 said that the nation must be "saved from the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)".
"The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is visible. But we have also to fight the one which is invisible. It was the RSS that spread false propaganda on the ground against the Samajwadi Party during the assembly elections... the RSS creates gulf between different castes and communities," Yadav said.
The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said that the road to the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) passes through Uttar Pradesh and he and other like-minded parties would ensure that the BJP is defeated in the state in the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019. "If the BJP is stopped in Uttar Pradesh, it will be stopped nationally... if anyone can stop the BJP, it is the regional forces," said Yadav.
"I will all be for the alliance and will not hesitate to go back two steps, if needed (for the grand alliance). I will not back off," he said, adding that the Congress as a national party ought to have a "large heart" on the alliance. "Their (Congress) responsibility is bigger as it is a national party. They need to take the regional parties along," he said.
The Samajwadi Party leader also said that nobody becomes an Election Commissioner "without political approach". "People don't get appointed there (Election Commission) without political approach. Since I too have been a Chief Minister, I know it," Yadav said when asked if he trusts the Election Commission's neutrality.
"A list of the proposed names comes (to the appointing authority). So, ultimately, they (appointees) have to pass through a political process. We may say from outside that the commission is neutral, but it does pass through a political arrangement," he added.
Yadav pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in Baghpat less than 24 hours before polling in neighbouring Kairana and Noorpur by-polls in Uttar Pradesh in May, but the EC did not stop him. He said that the rally could have influenced the voters in the adjacent constituencies.
Akhilesh Yadav: “The BJP is visible. But we have also to fight the one which is invisible... the RSS creates gulf between different castes and communities”
Speaking about EVMs, Yadav said: "The trust has been breached, and I was the first to flag the issue. We can only request the EC to explain to political parties as to how it restores the EVMs that develop snag."
The Samajwadi Party leader advocated the use of ballot papers instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs) for free and fair elections. "If ballot papers are used, people's anger would be vented and the trust-deficit with the EVMs will also be healed," he said.
Inputs by NH Web Desk