Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday, in his efforts to slam Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks on rampant cheating in examinations and the activities of the "copying mafia" in UP, said everyone cheats in school. In the process, he exposed the rot within UP, and how political parties like his own are contributing to it with their mentality.
What PM Modi said
Modi had, at a rally in Gonda on Friday in the run-up to the UP Assembly elections, said: "When I was thinking about speaking on the issue, I must honestly admit I was slightly scared as this topic heard on television by people in other parts of the country could give ideas to anti-social elements to replicate the Sapa ka karobaar [the business of the Samajwadi Party]."
Modi has also been constantly accusing the SP and its government in Uttar Pradesh of harbouring criminals. He received thunderous response from the crowd when he asked people if they wanted in power a party that harboured rapists and murderers or his party — the BJP.
Akhilesh said in Sidharthnagar on Saturday that there was no one who had not copied answers or cheated in school, and that everybody cheats. He claimed everyone had cheated when they were in school.
The rot in UP
While what Akhilesh said may have a grain of truth in it — many people do indeed resort to cheating in schools or colleges — what he probably did not calculate was the political correctness of the statement. Also, by making the statement, he has not only admitted to the presence of the aforementioned "copying mafia" in UP — as has recently been displayed in the Akshay Kumar-starrer Jolly LLB 2 — Akhilesh has also all but condoned those acts.
Then again, this is nothing new, coming from the son of the man who had said there was no need to hang rapists because they were "boys" who had made "mistakes." The year was 2014, and the topic of capital punishment for boys was raging on when Mulayam Singh Yadav — then chief of the SP — had said: "First girls develop friendship with boys. They when differences occur, they level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Will they be hanged for rape."
Campaigning for rape-accused
What's more, Akhilesh is also currently campaigning actively for Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who has been booked by the police on the direction of the Supreme Court on several charges of gangrape, including one where he is accused of trying to rape a mother and a daughter.
That Akhilesh is aware of the situation was evident in the way Prajapati was taken off the stage when the CM campaigned at the constituency Prajapati was contesting from, and the manner in which no mention was made of him in the speech Akhilesh delivered on the occasion.
There are few other lows UP can hit in terms of an abysmal law and order scenario, and if the patronage of such leaders continue, there will be no redeeming of the state that has sent the most number of prime ministers — including Modi himself — to Parliament.