Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister and seven-time MLA Durga Prasad Yadav, who is contesting again from Azamgarh Sadar, speaks to Anando Bhakto.

Q: The BSP has fielded a bahubali against you in Azamgarh. Are you confident you will retain the seat?

A: The ultimate bahubali is the public, and gone are the days when people used to vote out of terror of the goonda elements. Now they vote for development. CM Akhilesh has done marked development in the region, be it the metro train or the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. It will go through Ambedkar Nagar and Azamgarh to Ghazipur and Ballia. This has been inaugurated and in the next two years it will be completed. Once you connect the districts, development follows. We are giving Samajwadi monthly pension to 45 lakh poor women, apart from laptops to students and “Kanya Vidya Dhan” for the education of the girl child. 

Q: Will the Congress-SP alliance boost the SP’s chances in Azamgarh and across Uttar Pradesh?

A: Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has taken a historic decision by forging an alliance with the Congress and all our leaders and the cadre of the party welcome this decision. When Rahulji and CM Akhilesh take out their cavalcade jointly during roadshows, a sea of people come out to greet them and that clearly indicates the momentum this alliance has built. The alliance has made a major advance in the first two phases of polling. It did even better in the third phase, and as you move towards Purvanchal, the SP and Congress emerge as the clear favourite.

Q: How many seats will the SP win in Azamgarh?

A: We will win all 10 seats in Azamgarh. This is the constituency of our respected “Netaji” (Mulayam Singh Yadav). Our development work has been exemplary. We have connected even the remotest villages by well-planned, road network. We have spent Rs 90 crore on underground electric cable network and ensured 18 hours of electricity supply every day. We plan to provide 24 hours’ electricity in rural areas in our next term. We have made five flyovers here and connected the city eastwards where it was not connected earlier. We are committed to uplift the BPL people and we have issued attractive accident risk cover schemes. We released Rs 15 crore plus for the treatment of patients who are cancer afflicted or who have other major kidney or heart related ailment. The emergency ambulances that are available at a phone call speak volumes of our work. 

Q: Former Chief Minister Mayawati has assimilated Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal in the BSP. Will it impact the SP’s prospects?

A: First of all, people today vote only for development. CM Akhilesh is the one who has emerged as a dedicated leader and has a vision for development. People will go beyond caste and communal lines and support our government.

Q: There was a Narendra Modi wave in 2014. The BJP won 71 of 80 seats in the state. How do you assess the BJP’s prospects?

A: The BJP fooled the people in 2014 by peddling lies and making false promises. Some people are adept liars, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of them. When he was elected as the PM, he came to Varanasi and promised to clean the Ganges and beautify the city, claiming that Mother Ganga has called him. His lies stand exposed. He has not done anything for Varanasi. If the BJP and the PM can cheat in the name of Mother Ganga, in the name of our Gods, they can cheat the public also. It is, in fact, CM Akhilesh, who has taken up the mission of cleaning Ganga. We will transform it into a tourist destination, with beautiful parks and steamer facilities.