LUCKNOW: Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the death of 25 people in roof collapse at a Ghaziabad cremation ground, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said the government was directly responsible for this tragic loss of human lives. Accusing the BJP leadership of talking about cremation grounds in their speeches during elections, Akhilesh described the ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the victim families as ‘paltry’ and demanded that the amount be increased to Rs 50 lakh.
“Bhartiya Janata Party ke bhashano mein shamshaan ka rishta toh bahut purana hai …(BJP leaders only talk big about cremation grounds in their speeches),” Akhikesh said. This was in an apparent reference to BJP’s punchline during 2017 election campaign where senior party leaders accused the SP government of only getting graveyards made and ignoring cremation grounds.
“People who took refuge under the roof were unaware that the roof was made of sand by the BJP. What can you expect from the BJP which has misappropriated funds meant for construction at a cremation ground,” the the SP chief said, adding that this was not the first instance where a structure has collapsed. A similar incident had earlier taken place in Varanasi where people had died when a fly-over collapsed, he said, criticizing the ruling BJP for initiating action only against lower-rung officials.
“The government has announced an ex gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the family of each of the deceased. This is too little. The government must give at least Rs 50 lakh to the family of everyone killed in the incident,” he said while interacting with reporters at the party office.
Akhilesh also questioned the recent statement of the chief minister in which he said UP did not had a single metro train before BJP came to power in 2017. “When was the Lucknow Metro and the link metro that connects Delhi and Noida launched?” he asked after the video clip of the CM’s interview was played at the press conference. “Let the CM inaugurate the metro in Gorakhpur or Jhansi … I will personally go and congratulate him,” Akhilesh said.
Responding to a specific query over his statement that he would not take the Covid-19 vaccine, Akhilesh said neither Samajwadi Party nor he has ever raised any doubts or even questioned the scientists, medical experts or the volunteers associated with the vaccine. “Questions are asked from the BJP as people have doubts over the decisions that the party takes. We want to ask the government about the plan they have to vaccinate the poor of the country free of cost,” he said, adding that the government should come out with a detailed blue-print of the vaccine calendar on when and how all the poor people will be vaccinated.
Akhilesh also accused the ruling BJP of not clearing the dues of sugarcane farmers from Azamgarh primarily because he was a sitting MP from the district and BJP lost the elections there. “Instructions are that dues of cane growers from Azamgarh are not to be cleared … the work at Azamgarh airstrip has also been stopped … this is how the BJP works,” he said.
Talking about his interaction with the trader associations earlier in the day the SP chief said traders are being robbed and murdered. He said when the SP government came to power, a special section would be constituted in the police control room to handle complaints of crime against traders.