ANI Photo | “They failed to reach out to backwards when in power”: Congress fires fresh salvo at SP

Amid a bitter falling out with the Samajwadi Party (SP) after the breakdown in seat-sharing talks for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, the Congress’s Uttar Pradesh unit on Monday took a swipe at SP chief Akhilesh Yadav over the launch of the party’s PDA (Pichhde-Dalit-Alpsankhyak) rally in the state.
The rally is meant to reach out to the backward communities, Dalits and the minority community in the state and elsewhere ahead of upcoming and future electoral battles.
Speaking to ANI on Monday, the Congress president in Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Rai said the SP didn’t do much to reach out to backward and marginalised people in the many years that it ruled the state.
“We have not been in power in Uttar Pradesh for nearly three decades. They (Samajwadis) ruled the state for a number of years but failed to connect or reach out to the backward classes and marginalised communities. The people are aware of this and are tracking their moves minutely,” Rai said.
After the recent flare-up over the allocation of seats in Madhya Pradesh, ties between the SP and the Congress took a further turn for the worse after the SP chief, on Monday, launched a bicycle rally to reach out to the ‘PDA’.
Though partners in the 28-member INDIA bloc that was formed earlier this year, for the common goal of uniting against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections, the SP chief fell out with the Congress alleging that it reneged on its promise of setting aside 6 seats in Madhya Pradesh for its INDIA ally.
Scoffing at a reporter’s question on where the party’s PDA outreach leaves the ‘forward’ or people belonging to the general caste, Akhilesh said his party stood with everyone.
To the ‘PDA’, a term the SP chief coined, he added an ‘A’, or ‘Agdaa’ referring to the general caste.
“In PDA, there is another ‘A’, which stands for ‘Agdaa’ (forward). The problem is that many among us are not ready to acknowledge that they are forward despite being so,” Akhilesh said at a press conference on the sidelines of his ‘PDA Yatra’ in Lucknow on Monday.
There is a misplaced notion around the Yadav community (to which he belongs) that it is backward, the SP chief said, adding that a person belonging to a backward class can’t build a stadium like Lucknow’s Ekana Stadium.
“This is the problem. You think that Yadavs are backward. Did you not visit the (Ekana) stadium to watch the (World Cup) match? How are we backward? A backward (person) could not have built a stadium like that,” the former UP CM said.
The Ekana Stadium played host to a top-draw World Cup clash between India and England, with the hosts posting a dominant win over the defending world champions. While leaders across the political aisle hailed India’s win, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was in attendance at the stadium.
Hitting out at CM Adityanath, Akhilesh said, “The ones who built the stadium are forward, and the ones who took pictures in it are backward. The ones who made the expressway are forward.”
The Lucknow Ekana Stadium was built during Akhilesh’s term as chief minister.
Coining the term ‘PDA’, the SP said earlier that the idea was born out of a shared consciousness of the exploitation and oppression of the pichde (backward), Dalit and alpasankhyak (minority community).
“PDA is basically the name of that unity born out of the consciousness of the exploitation, oppression and neglect of the backward, Dalit and minority communities,” Akhilesh posted on X earlier

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