New Delhi: Former UP-cadre IPS officer Amitabh Thakur, who Saturday announced that he will contest against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the 2022 assembly elections, has told ThePrint that he is open to joining parties such as the Samajwadi Party (SP), an outfit he was once at odds with.
“Some established parties have reached out to me offering support if I contest independently,” Thakur told ThePrint in an exclusive interview Monday. “I have also been invited to join parties. If parties like the SP offer me a ticket, I am not against it.”
Thakur said while the Samajwadi Party has a history of “hooliganism” by party workers, party patron Akhilesh Yadav, unlike Yogi Adityanath, has always had “democratic values”.
Thakur is one of three IPS officers who were forced to retire in “public interest” by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) this March. The 1993-batch officer would have completed his service in 2028. In its order, the MHA said Thakur was deemed not to be “fit to be retained for the remaining tenure of his service”. It went on to cite “complaints”, including “disciplinary issues”, against Thakur and the other two officers.
Speaking to ThePrint, Thakur, who accuses Adityanath of polarising society and targeting critics with “flimsy cases”, said he will decide his constituency based on where the chief minister decides to contest from — Gorakhpur or Ayodhya — and create his own base in whatever way possible. Support, he added, has already begun pouring in.
He recently launched an organisation called ‘Adhikar Sena’, which he says will fight for constitutional rights of citizens.
“Our primary concern is transparency and accountability. We are open to any of these parties that are secular in their ideologies and allow us to stick to principles,” he said.
Thakur has had a strained relationship with the SP. In 2015, he was suspended after accusing then SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of threatening him.
In 2016, following his run-ins with Yadav, rape allegations were also levelled against Thakur and his wife Nutan, a lawyer, by a Ghaziabad-based woman. Thakur had then demanded a CBI probe in the case.
A case was filed but the couple was given a clean chit by UP Police in 2017. In the same year, Thakur had also urged the Centre to change his cadre.
The former police officer believes these controversies erupted as the couple are activists and fight against the abuse of power.
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‘Adityanath only polarises society’
The former IPS officer says “Yogi Adityanath’s prime focus has been to polarise society to garner votes”.
“I have been witness to all of these since 1994, even when he wasn’t a member of Parliament,” Thakur told ThePrint. “He has been spreading venom and hatred, and his governance has been blatant and completely dictatorial with the assistance of some handpicked blue-eyed officers.”
He added that Hindus don’t want such a “hate-filled society”.
“Adityanath has brought in complete intolerance in UP — the worst thing that could have happened,” he said. “It is not that the majority, Hindus, want a hatred-filled society but this government has already reduced it to this and the minorities are left voiceless. This intolerance will have severe repercussions.”
‘BJP law-&-order claims a sham’
The former IPS officer accused the Adityanath government of registering “flimsy cases” against anyone who questions it on the one hand, and trying to relieve its own leaders of “heinous crimes” like the Muzaffarnagar riots cases on the other hand.
“Earlier, people with different political views and opinions weren’t arrested, the UAPA wasn’t slapped on them,” he said. “Adityanath has always claimed that there is a fabulous law-and-order situation in the state, but the reality is that it has been only a reign of terror. Anyone who speaks out against the government is now an outlaw and he or she is charged with every law possible.”
“The CM and BJP can claim that the law-and-order situation has improved but the fact is that the common man who believes in his freedom of thought and expression is truly intimidated,” he added.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
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