Sounding the poll bugle in Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur yesterday, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will address a rally in Lakhimpur on Wednesday.
Launching a vehement attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the demonetisation of high-end currency notes, Akhilesh yesterday opined the money is not black or white, but the transactions are and said it was only the common man who faced the sole brunt of the drive.
Akhilesh even talked about the feud that recently plagued the first family of Uttar Pradesh and termed it as 'for the betterment of people'.
Setting off his election campaign at Sultanpur, Yadav said at a rally, "It's the common man who suffered the most because of demonetisation. So many people lost their lives. People were not able to withdraw their own hard-earned money. The money earned through hard work and integrity was declared black."
"There's nothing black or white in this world. Money is not black or white; the transactions are. And what black money can a common man have? The black money is possessed by the people living in the big cities. Did you see those affluent people in the ATM lines? Only the common man was seen and weird incidents were reported," he added.
Akhilesh took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi too and said a country cannot function if one person decides that the currency notes of 500 and 1000 won't be legal tender after midnight.
Continuing his tirade against the opposition, Akhilesh said that the BJP has not launched any scheme that even closely compares to the schemes launched during his regime in the state.
The Chief Minister accused the BJP of framing the 2017 Union Budget by plagiarising his party's agenda.
"They said 'acche din aa jaayenge'. I want to ask the people where the 'acche din' are. They gave a slogan and some people blindly followed it. They gave a 'jhaadu' (broom) in our hands instead. They made us do yoga. Now, the fourth budget of their government is about to come and I am sure that they will copy everything the Samajwadi Party has done for the state," Yadav said.
Referring to the family feud, Akhilesh said, "You must have read a lot in the newspapers that we fought a lot. We actually did. The opposition dubbed it in a totally different light."
"But the whole fight was about the people of the state. It was about how to provide the people with a better life. We promise to give 24-hour supply of electricity," he added.
Talking about the recently launched manifesto, Akhilesh said that the promises made in the last manifesto were fulfilled and assured to fulfil all even this time.
Enthused about his victory in the assembly elections, Akhilesh repeatedly enlisted the development works undertaken and accomplished by their government.
Referring to the unique bid to woo the voters -- distributing smart phones to people, Akhilesh said it is aimed at bringing the people closer to the government.
The Chief Minister also highlighted other schemes like distributing milk, ghee and fruits in schools and established the logic that went behind them.
Taking another sardonic shot at the opposing parties, Akhilesh quipped, "The Home Secretary said they have been receiving many calls from Uttar Pradesh, most of which were to check whether the phone is picked up at all."
The Chief Minister earlier on Sunday launched the party manifesto for elections, which focused entirely on women and youth empowerment. Later that day, the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance was formally announced.
Akhilesh, along with other leaders from both parties, has initiated the campaign for the upcoming polls in the state. He is expected to address another rally in Lakhimpur on 25 January.
The poll process in the state begins on 11 February. 73 constituencies in Western Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in this phase.
Uttar Pradesh is set to have a seven-phase polling between 11 February and 8 March.