No pre-vote or post-poll alliance with BSP or Congress: Naresh Uttam Patel

As Uttar Pradesh prepares for parliamentary elections, ET Sunday will address politicians from all walks of life in a series of talks titled “Poli-Talk.” Naresh Uttam Patel, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Samajwadi Party (SP), is confident that the party will win the elections. He says people are unhappy with the BJP government and that SP will win 351 seats. Edited excerpts from an interview with Prerna Katiyar:

How many seats do you think the SP will win in Uttar Pradesh this time around?

The people of UP are disappointed with the BJP government. SP National President Akhilesh Yadav undertook unprecedented development work between 2012 and 2,017 when he was CM; he improved social harmony and law and order. People still remember his tenure. In the polls, thanks to our voting booth employees and our capable leadership, we were sure to win 351 seats (out of an assembly of 403 members).

Pre-election polls do not give the SP more than 160 seats.

This is their poll. We too have a long experience in politics and we stay among the people all the time. During the recent Kisan-Naujawan Patel Yatra in 65 districts and the Vijay Rath Yatra, the kind of love people have shown portends a clear victory for the SP.

Why does the SP associate with small marginal caste-based parties and avoid big parties like Congress and BSP?

SP’s experience and poll results have not been satisfactory with the major parties, be it Congress or BSP. Small parties transfer their support honestly; they work to unite society. Therefore, we have linked up with smaller influential parties.

With barely one or two seats, what electoral impact can they have?

Together they will have a big impact, with SP. All leaders are influential in their own strongholds and that is why we have linked up with them.

Now that Akhilesh has patched up with his uncle Shivpal Yadav, what role will he play if SP wins?

The merger with Shivpal has just been announced and I cannot speak about it at the moment.

Is there a chance of a pre- or post-vote alliance with Congress or BSP?

Alliances with larger parties have not been successful, so we have made it clear that we will not bind with them. We focus on small parties that are influential in their own areas.

Will Akhilesh extend the Covid vaccination campaign if he is elected, given that he has called the BJP vaccine against the Covid vaccine and has shown his reluctance to be vaccinated himself?

The BJP destroyed the public health system unlike Akhilesh under whose mandate health care was within the reach of ordinary people; now only private companies are encouraged.

Regarding vaccines, he called on everyone to get vaccinated and he respects the scientific community. He will certainly move the vaccination campaign forward. The BJP has been in politics on vaccines, Covid and health in general. The BJP has tried to show that it was his party that developed the vaccines and not the scientific community.

Now that the farmers’ bills have been repealed, how will this affect the PS?

SP is a party of farmers. SP told Parliament and Vidhan Sabha that the interests of farmers must be protected first. Today, they are unhappy because the BJP’s promises to double revenues and implement the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan commission are still not kept. Farmers are forced to sell their produce for half the price even though their hard work is unprecedented.

Kisan’s invoices were false and baseless. In one year, the BJP destroyed property worth millions of dollars; they are responsible for the deaths of many farmers. But the BJP remains elusive on MSP. Is it a pro-farmer party?

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked UP voters to beware of lal topi wale (referring to SP leaders).

These frivolous words from the Prime Minister do not ring a bell. For someone in such a high position, such a statement shows what their level is. The BJP is very concerned about Akhilesh this time around. This is why Modi makes direct comments on him and walks around UP with the whole of the central government, the chief minister and the deputy ministers.

Now they are talking about development. What has this so-called twin-engine government been doing for the past four and a half years? Everything Akhilesh has done is tagged as BJP work; they are trying to deceive the public. However, their lies will be exposed in the election.

Akhilesh said that Modi spends time in Varanasi as one spends his last days in Varanasi. Is this kind of language acceptable?

He said this in the context of the final days of the UP government, now that elections are due in two months.

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