The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and the Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has been put under house arrest at his residence on Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow. Akhilesh Yadav was scheduled to join Samajwadi party’s Kisan yatra from Kannauj at 11 am today to support the farmers’ protest and renew his dwindling political clout, but was detained by the police citing the renewed wave of coronavirus infection in the country.
Besides Yadav’s residence, the Samajwadi Party office on Vikramaditya Marg has also been sealed and police have placed barricades around it. The Lucknow police have been deployed in the neighbourhood and nobody is allowed to enter or leave the premises. Similarly, other Samajwadi Party leaders from different districts have also been placed under house arrest in the wake of the Kisan Yatra that was called by the Samajwadi Party in solidarity with the farmers’ protest.
Two MLCs—Udayveer Singh and Rajpal Kashyap—were stopped by the police from entering Akhilesh Yadav’s residence. MLC Rajpal Kashyap and Ashu Malik have been taken into custody after entering into a scuffle with the police personnel for meeting their party president Akhilesh Yadav.
The official Twitter account of Samajwadi Party claimed that the police officials in several districts are stopping their workers from joining the Kisan Yatra. It said that the arrests of their functionaries would not stop them from supporting the farmers and urged workers and leaders of the Samajwadi Party to continue their Kisan Yatra in their respective home districts.
समाजवादियों को गिरफ़्तार कर उन्हें किसानों का साथ देने से नहीं रोक पाएगी दंभी सरकार !— Samajwadi Party (@samajwadiparty) December 7, 2020
समाजवादी पार्टी के सभी कार्यकर्ता, नेता अपने अपने गृह जनपदों में किसान यात्रा को जारी रखें। pic.twitter.com/C9Zv15QnMZ
Acknowledging his house arrest, Akhilesh Yadav posted a poem, questioning the government on how many more people will it be keeping under detention.
जहां तक जाती नज़र वहां तक लोग तेरे ख़िलाफ़ हैं— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) December 7, 2020
ऐ ज़ुल्मी हाकिम तू किस-किस को नज़रबंद करेगा!
Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav seeking to regain political capital on the back of farmers’ protest
As the ongoing farmers’ protests, predominantly made up of farmers from Punjab, continue unabated, it has provided a lucrative opportunity to the opposition politicians and ‘activists’ to cash in on the agitation and enhance their dwindling political capital. To this end, many leaders who have been pushed on the verge of oblivion, are jumping on the bandwagon of the farmers’ protests and cutting themselves as empathetic leaders, waging a fight against the government on behalf of the agitating farmers.
Yogendra Yadav, who had no skin in the game, was one of the ‘activists’ who took the lead over the farmers’ protests, perhaps in a desperate bid to maintain his relevance in the national politics. Similarly, the Samajwadi Party is also trying to carve out a new role for itself after the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has rendered it weak and inconsequential.
Realising that the farmers’ protests could be leverage to make a comeback, the Samajwadi Party has aligned itself with the protests, hoping that it would serve to strengthen its political capital needed to fight the Yogi Adityanath government. With this intention, the party mobilised its functionaries and workers for a ‘Kisan Yatra’ to mark their support for the demonstrators protesting against the three newly introduced agriculture laws. However, their plans got derailed as the UP government prevented the SP workers and functionaries from congregating and launching a movement, citing the threat from a looming second wave of the coronavirus infection.