Lucknow (UP) [India], Nov. 3 : Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday flagged off Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's state-wide 'Vikas Rath Yatra', and used the occasion to caution the Centre to follow 'middle path' with Pakistan.
His son, however, chose to say that next year's assembly elections would change the way politics is played and performed at the national level.
Along with the Samajwadi Party supremo, party state president Shivpal Singh Yadav and other leaders were also in attendance.
"I thank people of Uttar Pradesh for their support. Indian Army is the bravest in the world. I salute all martyrs. This rally is dedicated to our brave jawans, our defence forces among the best. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should meet families of martyrs" said Mulayam at the event. "We don't want our jawans to die and don't want a war with Pakistan. We must find a middle path," he added. Meanwhile, his brother Shivpal said, "I wish to extend my good wishes to Akhilesh and tell him that SP will come to power again in UP." He added that the party's mission in Uttar Pradesh is to not allow the BJP to come into power.
"I want to thank Mulayam Singh Yadav ji for flagging off the event," the chief minister said, adding, "This UP election will change national politics." "This is the time to again come to power.
People have been scheming against our party but we did not move," he added. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also slammed the Modi Government over the recent suicide of the ex-serviceman, allegedly over the delay of One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme.
"On one hand, our brave soldiers are sacrificing their lives for our safety, whereas on the other hand, they are committing suicides as well.
So, it should be seen as who is ruling the country and where are they taking it," he said. Later on, Akhilesh was seen in the bus which is decorated with the images of the major schemes and projects launched by party during his tenure: the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, Lucknow Metro, emergency services for women safety and health like 108 and 1090, free laptop distribution, etc.
This is the third such election campaign organised Akhilesh since 2001-2002 and this year's event is important because of the growing rift within the party.
Before the yatra was flagged off by Mulayam Singh Yadav, there were clashes between groups of party workers - an indication that the Yadav family feud has not yet ended.
The supporters of both Akhilesh and Shivpal factions are keeping an eye on the development and the entire route of yatra is dotted with hoardings, banners and colourful arches to welcome the 'Vikas Sey Vijay Tak' rath yatra starting from Lucknow.
Akhilesh is all set to travel 75 km in Lucknow and neighbouring Unnao atop a modified Mercedes bus, which can also be called a Mercedes "rath" from Lucknow.
All schools in the state capital and Unnao have been shut owing to the 'VVIP movement', which is all set to bring the state capital and the Lucknow-Kanpur highway to a grinding halt.
According to report, a cavalcade of over thousands SUVs and trucks will seek to send a message to the party leadership that Akhilesh is the 'most acceptable' face of Samajwadi Party.