As the nation celebrated its 76th Independence Day on Monday, opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh left no stone unturned to compete with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Riding the patriotism plank most parties organised parallel Tiranga events across the State during the extended weekend. In many places, like Unnao, there were reports of skirmishes between the BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP) workers.
National president of SP and former CM Akhilesh Yadav, who started his party’s Tiranga campaign on August 9 — to commemorate Quit India movement that was launched on the same day in 1942 — mounted his attack on the ruling party alleging that the BJP and its parent organization the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were trying to “hide the dark pages of their past” behind the Tricolour.
“In the name of nationalism, BJP only knows how to fulfil its selfishness. It has been reported that BJP workers are selling the national flag. For everyone the Tiranga is a symbol of the nation’s pride, but for the BJP it is an object,” said Mr. Yadav. The SP had also asked its cadres to hoist flag at homes and motivate others to do the same from August 9 to 15.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), also organised Vishal Tiranga Sankalp Yatra in Lucknow and recited the national anthem. The Bahujan Samaj Party had also asked its workers and supporters to hoist the Tricolour.
The BJP, which organised countrywide campaigns between August 13-15, focused big in U.P. with the party’s national president J.P. Nadda flagging off a Tiranga rally in Meerut on August 13 and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Brajesh Pathak and Keshav Prasad Maurya participating in several other events in the last three days.
Political observers feel these events helped opposition parties, primarily the SP, to energise its cadres who were low on morale after the Assembly polls. “The BJP has a strong cadre base and structure; they were well prepared to organise big Tiranga events. But this has given the SP a chance to connect with the people. We all understand that the whole Tiranga Yatra was for optics and to penetrate the idea of nationalism by the BJP, hence it was not possible for the Opposition to remain far behind on the issue, I believe such kinds of events would increase in coming months as these are part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav which is a 75-week-long event,” said Sumit Kumar, a political analyst.
The Union government will commemorate 75 years of Independence through Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsv events to celebrate the country’s history, culture and achievements. It commenced on March 12, 2021 and will end on August 15, 2023.