Akhilesh calls VHP's yatra a 'political drama', denies match-fixing between SP-BJP

Rejecting allegations that the row over VHP's 84-Kosi yatra was a case of "match-fixing" between Samajwadi Party and BJP, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has said that the saffron outfit's move was a "political drama" which his government had not allowed to be staged.

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"Only a non-serious person can term it match-fixing. SP has always fought and stood against communal forces," Akhilesh said at his residence on Monday.

"An issue is being made out of our meeting with (VHP leader) Ashok Singhal, but in a democracy, anyone is free to meet a Chief Minister. Such talk is an indication of a mean mentality," he said.

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Justifying the government's decision to ban the yatra, Akhilesh said, "It (the ban) was necessary as the yatra was not religious but a political one which could vitiate the communal atmosphere in the state".

VHP had scheduled the yatra in Uttar Pradesh from August 25 to September 13, but the state government had banned the same saying it would threaten the communal peace in the state.

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"The yatra was planned ahead of Lok Sabha polls and the state government has not allowed it to be staged," he said.

Akhilesh said that Singhal had met him and his father, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, to seek permission for the yatra.

"But when officials reviewed the request and went through religious traditions, they found there was no precedent for a yatra during Chaturmas," he said.

"Such a Parikrama or Yatra was never organised in the past 50 years and, as per Hindu belief, it is performed during 'Chaitra' (April), which has already passed," he clarified.

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