Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi party leader Akhilesh Yadav has addressed a news briefing following his party's massively significant win in the two Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
Akhilesh didn't hold back in his attack against Yogi Adityanath and the BJP, setting the context right in the beginning when he reiterated that the seats had earlier belonged to Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively.
Pravin Nishad won the Gorakhpur bypoll by almost 22,000 votes while Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel won the Phulpur bypoll by over 59,000 votes.
Yadav took on the ruling party on a number of issues, from farm loan waivers to unemployment, and from personal attacks to 'tarnishing the constitution'. Earlier, Yogi Adityanath had termed the by-elections 'a rehearsal for 2019' but cut a disconsolate figure after the results came out, saying that his party had failed to anticipate the effect that the SP's combination with Mayawati's BSP would have. Akhilesh was careful to thank Mayawati in his briefing.
"I'd like to thank all my mediaperson friends. Through your medium, I'd like to thank both Lok Sabha constituencies', Gorakhpur and Phulpur's, people.
First, I'd like to thank BSP politician Mayawatiji. We got their party's support... and along with it, the NCP, Nishad party, Peace party, all our communist parties... they all worked together to help us.
I can say today that the result that has come today, the count is in the thousands, but I can say that lakhs of people have come together to give the Samajwadi party a win.
UP's Lok Sabha elections always send a message on the national stage. One is the chief minister's seat which hadn't been won for a long time and the other one is the deputy chief minister's seat... if in those seats there's so much anger, just imagine in the days to come if there'll be a national election, what will be the result.
Farm waivers were promised. Didn't happen. Youth were promised jobs and a livelihood. Unemployment dropped. Demonetisation and GST stopped business and ended livelihoods.
And the atmosphere that was created... the way law and order was tarnished... the people responded.
There's no other party that would have tarnished the Constitution. The words that were used on the floor of the house...
We never considered ourselves backward. But what was our alliance called? It was called the alliance of the snake and the mongoose. The Samajwadi Party was called the Aurangzeb party.
I'm very happy that the poor, farmers, labourers and our Dalit brothers have helped us and that's why this historic win came about. This is also in some way a win for social justice."