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SP, Congress hit out at BJP over President Kovind’s UP trip, months before assembly polls

The SP and Congress have questioned BJP’s intentions over President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Ayodhya, claiming the party is trying to 'capitalise' on his trip politically.

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Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress have slammed the BJP over President Ram Nath Kovind’s four-day trip to Uttar Pradesh, which began Thursday. 

This is the President’s second trip to his home state in two months, but the opposition is up in arms as he is set to visit Ayodhya, where a Ram temple is being built, Sunday.   

The SP and Congress have questioned the BJP’s intentions over the visit, which comes just months ahead of assembly elections in the state.   

“We have full respect for the President of the nation but the way BJP is propagating his trip, makes it clear that their intention is to politicise the visit,” SP’s spokesperson and former Ayodhya MLA, Pawan Pandey, said.

“They are giving the message to their workers that it’s like a trip of any senior BJP leader to Ayodhya. It is their way of creating a buzz for their narrative.”

He added that the kind of preparations that the state BJP has been making for the President’s visit, makes it look that they want to capitalise on the trip for votes as assembly elections are just a few months away.

His views were echoed by UP Congress spokesperson Sachin Rawat.

“The President is the first citizen of the nation; it is a constitutional post. He is not a leader of any party but BJP is using him in UP as its icon in the state,” Rawat said. “His trips to the state have now become frequent as he has an UP connection. He is visiting the Ram Janambhoomi six months before the polls, a clear indication of the BJP’s intentions.” 

The UP BJP defended the President’s trip, particularly his proposed visit to Ayodhya. 

“Who are SP and Congressmen to decide whether the President should visit any state or not? Even his visit to Ayodhya has nothing to do with politics,” UP BJP spokesperson Harish Srivastava said.

“The opposition in the state has no work other than creating unnecessary issues. Our party has nothing to do with his visit.”

Sources in the BJP admit that a section of the party believes that the President’s visit will aid poll preparations. 

“One section of party thinks that the President is a former senior BJP leader who belongs to Dalit community and has had his own struggles in his political career,” the source said. “They want him to be showcased as a Dalit icon before the UP polls. Though no one in the party is ready to say this officially, silently this work can be done.”

ThePrint reached the press secretary to the President, Ajay Singh, through phone but he refused to comment on the issue.  

Also read: UP Congress booklet tears into ‘corrupt, casteist, dynast’ SP, tries countering tie-up talk

The President’s trip

President Ram Nath Kovind began his four-day trip by attending the convocation ceremony of the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow Thursday. 

He will participate in the diamond jubilee celebrations of Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey UP Sainik School in Lucknow Friday. 

The President is set to visit Gorakhpur, where he will lay the foundation stone of AYUSH University Saturday. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, whose home turf is Gorakhpur, will accompany him.

President Kovind will round off his trip Sunday, with a trip to Ayodhya, where is slated to launch various projects of the department of culture and tourism of the UP government.  

The President is also expected to visit the construction site of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: How BJP plans to use Kalyan Singh’s legacy to blend OBC & Hindutva politics for UP 2022


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