Participating in the NDTV Yuva conclave organised by controversial English News Channel NDTV, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav regretted not killing a journalist who had criticized him. Narrating the incident, he said that once an article published in a newspaper had compared him with Aurangzeb. On investigating, Yadav found that there were ‘powerful people’ behind it. Without naming these ‘powerful people’, Yadav hinted that when PM Modi wanted to find black money with Samajwadi Party leadership, they could not find any. Instead, they found Amar Singh. He added if the front page of a large newspaper like Times of India has published this, there must be very large forces behind it, but he refused to divulge if he thinks some industrial houses were behind it.
Referring to the mail purportedly written by Samajwadi Party’s political advisor Steve Jarding where he had advised orchestrating the family feud, which was claimed to be fake, Akhilesh Yadav said that just yesterday he told the person responsible for the mail that it is his mistake that he didn’t file FIR against him and send him to jail. This was applauded by the audience, although moderator Ravish Kumar tried to question this threat of filing FIR.
After that Yadav went on, saying “I had invited a senior journalist from Delhi to Lucknow. I told him for this much money you compared me with Aurangzeb? I am ready to give you twice the amount, had you told me that you need money. I left him also”. Then he said, “this is the mistake I made, I should have drawn a sword like Aurangzeb and I should have killed that person at that moment’”
Surprisingly, this comment received an even louder applause from the audience. Ravish Kumar did try to protest this open threat to kill someone, but Akhilesh Yadav justified by saying that he was angry that he was called Aurangzeb.
Ironically, Ravish Kumar had started the show by showering praises on Akhilesh Yadav’s tolerance. He introduced Akhilesh Yadav as someone who handles criticism well and as someone who had never sent his party workers to intimidate a journalist like Ravish Kumar.
Following his arrogant remark on wanting to kill people as Aurangzeb did, various questions were asked by press freedom champions like Nidhi Razdan and Sunetra Chowdhury. However, none of the journalists present has raised a question on Akhilesh Yadav’s dictatorial comment.
Earlier in 2016 also, Akhilesh Yadav had claimed that Amar Singh had planted a story in a newspaper where he was called Aurangzeb and Mulayam Singh was called Shahjahan.
It can be noted that in July last year, former SM leader Amar Singh had compared Akhilesh Yadav with Aurangzeb. Referring to tussle for power that was going between Akhilesh and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Amar Singh had said, “Akhilesh Yadav is Aurangzeb, power has gone into his head and Mulayam Singh Yadav is like Shahjahan”. Recalling how Aurangzeb had put his father Shahjahan in jail to gain the throne.
And last week, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had also compared the former UP CM with the infamous Mughal emperor. Adityanath was also referring to the spat between Akhilesh and his father and uncle. Addressing an event he had said, “someone who could not take his father and uncle along claims he will take you along. A character in history jailed his father. This is why no Muslim names his son Aurangzeb. Now the same is happening in SP and history is repeating itself”.