A screengrab from a Republic Bharat broadcast is viral on social media. It reads, “SP to change the name of Ayodhya if it comes to power”. It is claimed that Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav allegedly made this campaign promise. One Twitter user wrote, “Akhilesh Yadav is challenging us Hindus. What do you say, shall we knock the SP out of this election?” (Archive link)
अखिलेश यादव की ये चुनौती है हिंदूओ फिर क्या सोचा है सपा को कर दें अबकी बार सफ़ा 🙏 pic.twitter.com/KFseP6nrVt
— Riniti Chatterjee (@Chatterj1Asking) November 27, 2021
The image is also widespread on Twitter. In fact, a few users also amplified the claim without the accompanying photo. Among them were VHP Spokesperson Vijay Shankar Tiwari and Bhupesh Chaubey of the BJP.
Alt News performed a keyword search on YouTube and found a November 27 video report by Republic Bharat. The channel reported that Yogi Adityanath took a jab at Akhilesh Yadav by saying that if the SP won in Uttar Pradesh, the party would change Ayodhya’s name. This comment, made by the UP chief minister in an interview, appears at the 2:40 mark of the video attached below. Adityanath said that if the Samajwadi Party wins, it will change back the names of Ayodhya and Prayagraj.
His statement is as follows, “Akhilesh Yadav and Owaisi speak the same language. Owaisi says that he will change Ayodhya’s name back. And Akhilesh Yadav says the same thing, that if his party came to power he would reverse the Ayodhya and Prayagraj name changes. They both give the same kind of statements and do the same kind of work. They complement one another. There’s no difference between the two.”
Alt News performed another keyword search to confirm whether Akhilesh Yadav had indeed made such a remark. However, we did not find any media reports that corroborated this.
Thus, it was Yogi Adityanath, not Akhilesh Yadav, who claimed that the Samajwadi Party would change Ayodhya’s name if the SP came to power in Uttar Pradesh.