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Braving Cold, Lakhs Show Up for 16-hr Long SP Rally as Akhilesh Hits at BJP; Maurya Counters with Jinnah Jibe

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A humongous crowd turned up in Lucknow braving a chilly November night as the fourth leg of the Samajwadi Vijay Rath Yatra culminated in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh at 4am on Thursday after covering almost 350 kilometres from Pakhanpura, Ghazipur. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, along with allies Om Prakash Rajbhar and Sanjay Chauhan, had addressed the gathering around 1pm on Wednesday at the zero point on the Purvanchal Expressway.

Tweeting a photograph of his supporters standing around the Rath around 1am, the SP chief invoked famous lines from a Robert Frost poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’: “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep…”

During the rally, Akhilesh attacked the ruling BJP saying, “We have yellow from Om Prakash Rajbhar, the SP’s green and red and soon we will have green and white from the RLD. We have multiple colours with us, unlike the BJP that just has one colour. Those with one colour won’t represent all and be able to do any good for you.”

The Rath Yatra, which took almost 16 hours to complete, saw huge support from SP supporters in all the ten districts that it crossed.

The rally could initially cover only 60 kilometres in the first four hours as people kept pouring in in large numbers on the Purvanchal Expressway. It reached Mau almost four hours after the Yatra kicked off from Ghazipur and moved to Ambedkarnagar around 11pm on Wednesday evening. It then reached the Sultanpur Air Strip on the Purvanchal Expressway post-midnight.

Akhilesh was welcomed by his supporters in Amethi around 1am on Thursday and then in Ayodhya around half an hour later. Around 2:30 am, the rally reached Barabanki. It finally reached Lucknow around 4am on Thursday.

Addressing his supporters in Lucknow, Akhilesh said, “This phase of the yatra has come to an end around 4am. I think this is one of the longest Yatras of the Samajwadi people, but don’t think the Yatra has ended because it will continue and will stop when we will see the SP back in the government.”

Akhilesh’s Rath Yatra is considered the lucky charm by SP. In 2011, the SP chief had embarked on a similar Yatra following which the Samajwadi Party formed a full majority government in 2012.

Decorated with pictures of party patriarch and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, party MP from Rampur Azam Khan, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, and state president Naresh Uttam Patel, and embossed with the slogan ‘Bado Ka Hath Yuva Ka Sath’ (the older generation is with the youth), the bus will be ferrying the SP chief across the state during the Rath Yatra.

On the other side of the bus is a solo picture of Akhilesh with the slogan, ‘Kisan, Gareeb, Mahila, Yuva, Karobari, Sabki Ek Awaz Hai, Hum Samajwadi’ (farmers, the poor, women, the youth, traders, everyone says in one voice, we are Samajwadi). However, now pictures on the ‘Vijay Rath’ of SP chief have been updated with pictures of work done during the SP regime, including the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Laptop distribution 102-108 ambulance services, etc.

Meanwhile, BJP leader and UP deputy chief minister KP Maurya hit back at the SP chief. “Akhilesh Yadav can change his name to ‘Akhilesh Ali Jinnah’ and his party’s name to ‘Jinnahwadi Party’, but neither Jinnah nor Atiq Ahmed or (Mukhtar) Ansari could help him win in this election,” he said.

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