A possible CBI investigation against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav triggered huge uproar by the opposition in Rajya Sabha, forcing an adjournment early in the day. The Congress, Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party accused the government of "vendetta politics" meant to block the proposed opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati later dialled Mr Yadav to show solidarity, saying it was "important not to worry but to fight conspiracies like this".
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the alleged irregularities in the mining of minor minerals that took place during Mr Yadav's tenure as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, is likely to examine his role in the matter. Mr Yadav had held the mining portfolio for a year.
"Do not be shaken by such gimmicks," she told Yadav, while terming the reports as "political animosity" of the ruling BJP. The BSP chief also alleged that like the Congress, the ruling BJP was "misusing" the government machinery to "trap" its opponents in false cases. The Dalit leader is in talks with Mr Yadav to finalise the alliance for the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh for the coming national elections. The Congress is hoping to cut in, despite the reluctance of both state biggies.
Announcing that the Congress "strongly condemns" the CBI action, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "such politics and dictatorship cannot be allowed in India". Questioning the timing of the action, he said, "Where was this government in the last over four-and-a-half years? This (CBI) action comes at a time when elections are approaching".
The investigation, he said, was a means to intimidate Mr Yadav and stop him from forming an alliance with Mayawati which would lead to the BJP's defeat in the state.
Arvind Kejriwal,too, weighed in with a tweet.
In its last weeks in office, Modi govt shamelessly unleashing CBI on @yadavakhilesh is a reminder to all that we must not forget what Modi's political opponents have faced during last five years. Time to throw out this dictatorial & undemocratic regime— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 7, 2019
In Lok Sabha today, Samajwadi Party members took a swipe at the BJP, saying it had "formed an alliance with the CBI" following alliance talks between their party and Mayawati-led BSP. After party member Dharmendra Yadav raised the issue, the rest of the Samajwadi members rushed to the Well of the House, raising slogans against the BJP and the CBI.
Yesterday, Mr Yadav had pilloried the BJP, saying the CBI was out to elicit information on his alliance with Mayawati.
"We are making efforts to win maximum Lok Sabha seats. Those who want to stop us, have the CBI with them. If the CBI wants to question me, I will answer (them). But the BJP must know that people are ready to give an answer to them," the SP chief said.