Stampede-like situation at Akhilesh Yadav’s Azamgarh Rally

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By Tajdar H. Zaidi

Azamgarh: There was a stampede-like situation at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh Tuesday that was addressed by the Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. The chaos erupted after the former UP Chief Minister arrived at the event, with over-eager party workers and supporters jostling with each other, and climbing over wooden barriers, to see Akhilesh Yadav.

As the jostling and shoving escalated, not helped at points by unruly sections, the meeting devolved into bedlam. This was the third time a rally led by Yadav has ended in disorder.

Visuals from the scene showed carnage at a fair ground in the town of Saraymeer, with broken chairs and torn streamers littering the ground, prompting the police to step in and try and control the situation. The cops had to resort to a lathi charge to do so.

During the chaos Akhilesh Yadav and others, including leaders from the INDIA opposition bloc, remained on stage and appealed, in vain, for the supporters and workers to calm down. The appeals, unfortunately, had no effect. Eventually, though, police restored a measure of order and Akhilesh Yadav addressed the crowd.

The public rally was being held for the SP candidate in the Lalganj Lok Sabha seat, which SP is trying to win for the first time since Daroga Prasad’s 2004 success.

In 2019 the seat was won by Sangeeta Azad from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party.

In this election Daroga Prasad has been fielded (as the joint INDIA bloc candidate) by the Samajwadi Party against the BJP’s Neelam Sonkar and the BSP’s Indu Chaudhry.

The Lalganj seat will vote in the sixth phase – on May 25.

This is not the first time chaos has visited one of Mr Yadav’s rallies in this election.

Earlier this week a rally in Prayagraj’s Phulpur had to be cancelled, leaving Akhilesh Yadav and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who was also on stage, free for an impromptu on-stage chat.

Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi had to abandon plans for another joint election meeting, each without delivering their speeches. Sources said supporters broke through barricades trying to reach the dais at the rally.

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