SP president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said a palm reader had recently predicted that he will win 350 of the 403 seats in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and asserted that if voted to power, his government will hold a caste-wise census.
State BJP chief Swatantradev Singh likened Yadav to 'Mungerilal' for his statement and said that the Samajwadi Party's claim of winning the 2022 election will remain a dream.
Speaking to reporters here at the party office, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said, "While going to Delhi on a flight, a person saw my palms and told me that if I work hard, I will form the next government by winning 350 seats."
"I have decided that we will win one seat more than 350... Together we will win 351 seats in the 2022 Assembly elections," he added.
Hitting out at the ruling BJP, Yadav said if the saffron party can win 300 seats in the state by spreading lies, the SP can win 351 seats by working honestly.
"If the BJP can spread lies and win 300 seats, then we through our honest hardwork can win 351 seats. We will definitely achieve this," he said.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP-led NDA won 325 seats with 48.7 per cent votes, the SP won 47 seats with 21.8 per cent votes and the Bahujan Samaj Party won 19 seats with 22.2 per cent votes.
Yadav further said if the Centre does not go for caste-wise census, then the SP will conduct it in Uttar Pradesh after winning the 2022 Assembly polls.
"What is reason that they (BJP) are not going for caste-wise census. A number of problems in the society will be resolved if it is done... We will devise a way so that every community is allotted resources according to its population size," he said.
Reacting to Yadav's claim, the UP BJP chief said, "Akhilesh Yadav is oblivious to ground reality. His claim of bagging 351 seats is 'Mungerilal ka sapna' (dream) which will never come true as he indulges in politics of dynasty, appeasement, corruption and anarchy. People will not vote for him".
"Despite making repeated efforts to form caste-based alliances from 2014 to 2019, and still being rejected by the public, the SP chief is unable to accept the fact that people have rejected the politics of caste, dynasty and corruption," he said.
Mungerilal was the main character of the popular show, 'Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne', on Doordarshan in the 1990s. The show was about a clerk who is bullied by his boss in the office and wife at home. His escape from his unpleasant world is through daydreaming where he takes revenge from his boss and also dates his pretty colleague.
Attacking chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Yadav said, "Yogi does not like the country's Constitution which secures the rights of Dalits and those belonging to the deprived and backward sections of the society. The BJP is attacking the Constitution."
On the upcoming third anniversary of Adityanath government, Yadav claimed Uttar Pradesh was lagging behind in terms of providing quality education and health services, while corruption was rampant in the mid-day meal scheme.
Replying to a question on the recent telephonic conversation with Adityanath, Yadav said, "I told him (Adityanath) that fake cases have been registered against SP leader Azam Khan."
To frame the SP MP, the district magistrate and superintendent of police were handpicked, Yadav alleged.
"The district magistrate wanted a service extension, which he got as a reward by targeting Azam Khan," Akhilesh said. Currently, Khan, his legislator-wife Tazeen Fatma and MLA-son Abdullah Azam are lodged in Sitapur jail in the fake birth certificate case.
The case relates to two birth certificates for Abdullah Azam, who allegedly also gave a wrong date of birth while filing his nomination papers for the assembly elections in 2017.
Abdullah's election was set aside by the Allahabad High Court last December and the UP Legislative Assembly also disqualified him as a member and declared his seat Suar in Rampur as vacant.
In recent years, Khan has also faced charges of encroachment of land around Rampur's Mohammad Ali Jauhar University where he is the chancellor.
According to BJP sources, Adityanath had called Yadav to draw his attention to SP workers' alleged protest during Prime Minister Narendra Modi''s visit to Allahabad last month.
"I have told my party men not to disturb any programme of the BJP, but I want to tell the BJP that it should stop sending intelligence sleuths at my press conference and in the vicinity of my house," Yadav said.
On the recent Delhi riots, the SP president said, "It seems that Union Home minister Amit Shah is angry with Yogi Adityanath. The Union Home minister said that 300 people from UP had come to spread violence (in Delhi). This statement is quite significant."
Yadav also declared that his party will not contest the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, and will only support the winning candidates.
As far as West Bengal election is concerned, the strategy will be prepared in consultation with party vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda, he said.
Meanwhile, several BSP leaders including former MP Balihari Babu, former minister Tilak Chand Ahirwar, and former MLAs Feran Lal Ahirwar and Anil Ahirwar joined the SP.
The leaders claimed that due to the wrong policies of the BSP, they felt insulted and therefore decided to quit the party.