Hours after Akhilesh Yadav was allegedly stopped at the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow while on his way to an Allahabad University event, Samajwadi Party leaders, including MP Dharmendra Yadav, and workers were lathi-charged by police in Allahabad during protests triggered by the incident, reports said. The SP chief, at a press conference, said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had found it necessary to stop him because they were afraid of his presence at a students' programme and had effectively "prevented him from engaging with the youth".
Meanwhile, ANI's Uttar Pradesh Twitter account published a letter sent by the Allahabad University registrar to Akhilesh Yadav's personal secretary on Monday, informing him that politicians are not allowed in university programme. "From our experience of the past years, the university has decided not to invite any politician to university events, including the annual function," stated the university letter.
The matter rocked Rajya Sabha on the penultimate day of the Budget Session, where proceedings were disrupted multiple times amid uproar by Samajwadi Party members who jumped into the Well protesting against their party chief being allegedly stopped at the airport.
Akhilesh was supposed to attend an oath-taking ceremony at the university. "I had sent my acceptance for attending this event long back, on 27 December, but the state government put a spoke in the wheel," he said, adding that a detailed programme of his trip had also been sent to the government on 2 February.
In a statement he tweeted in the aftermath of the incident, Akhilesh called his alleged detention at the airport the "remote control politics of two and a half men", in a veiled jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Adityanath.
"To be stopped from speaking, from asking questions that is on everyone's mind — to be prevented from engaging with the youth is just another clear sign of how scared the government is," the SP chief said.
"If there was a genuine problem, the police there would have objected, or asked for a change in my schedule. I understand the need to ensure the safety of people and property and would never do something to endanger either knowingly," he added. He said the BJP has lost Uttar Pradesh, "but more than an election, they have lost the faith that the youth of this country reposed in them".
Neither in his press conference nor in his statement did Akhilesh mention the letter that was allegedly sent by the University authorities.
"The government's intentions are not good. The kind of measures this government is willing to take are outrageous," Akhilesh said. Earlier in the day, he had tweeted photographs in which he was seen talking to police officers inside the airport. When asked as to why Akhilesh was stopped, airport director AK Sharma said, "I have no such information."
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the BJP government's actions were "an example of total dictatorship of BJP government".
"This is very unfortunate and this undemocratic step will be fought at all levels," she said. "Is the BJP government at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh so afraid of BSP-SP alliance that it is resorting to anti-democratic methods to curb our political activities?" she further asked.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2019 16:40:37 IST