UP Assembly elections: BKU chief Naresh Tikait goes back on support to SP-RLD

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Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Naresh Tikait took back his earlier call to support the SP-RLD alliance in the elections. “Hum thoda sa faltu bol gaye. Hume aisa nahi kehna chayiye tha (I talked a bit silly. I should not have said so). We cannot go against the SKM decision or else they will expel us too,” Naresh said.

The SKM had on Sunday snapped ties with constituents who had entered the election fray in Punjab.

Sources said Naresh made the U-turn on Monday because his younger brother and BKU spokesperson, Rakesh Tikait, had objected to extending support to any political party or alliance.

Naresh’s comments followed a Monday morning visit by Union Minister and BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan to the Tikaits’ ancestral home in Sisauli.

Tikait’s comments also came on a day when SP chief Akhilesh Yadav took an “anna sankalpa”, a pledge to stand by farmers and defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.

With Tejender Virk, an SKM leader who was injured in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident on October 3, and other Lakhimpur Kheri farmers by his side, Yadav, who took fistfuls of rice and wheat in each of his hands, said, “The Samajwadi Party has decided we will take this anna sankalp to remove and defeat the BJP that is guilty of carrying out atrocities against farmers.”

The SP chief also announced minimum support price for all crops, a fund to pay farmers’ arrears and dues to sugarcane farmers, interest-free loans and Rs 25 lakh to each of the families of the farmers who died in Lakhimpur Kheri incident, among other farmer-centric promises will be part of the SP manifesto.

On Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar, who accused him of “insulting” the Scheduled Castes after their alliance talks failed, Yadav said, “To defeat BJP, whatever sacrifice is required should be done. If he wants to help me as a brother, he can.”

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