Lucknow, March 2: BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Sunday hit back at Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying more than 150 riots had taken place in Uttar Pradesh in recent times.
“There have been 150 riots (since the Samajwadi Party took power in the state in 2012),” Modi told a large election rally here, and asked Mulayam Singh Yadav to stop comparing Uttar Pradesh with Gujarat.
There has been no communal violence in Gujarat for the past 10 years, Modi said in response to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s condemnation earlier Sunday of the 2002 riots in Gujarat when Modi was the chief minister.
Claiming a surge across India in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Modi predicted that this would convert into a “saffron tsunami” as soon as the Lok Sabha polls were announced.
He slammed the Samajwadi Party government and its Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for failing to rein in crime and develop the state economically.
Addressing the gathering, he said: “You (people) must not allow the SP and BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) to destroy the rich heritage and culture of Lucknow and the state.”
“You (Mulayam Singh Yadav) are talking about Gujarat. Instead it would be nice if you talk about the development in Uttar Pradesh. Stop spreading lies about Gujarat.”
Taking a dig at the Samajwadi Party leadership, Modi said the party had two camps: a “Samajvirodhi Party” and a “Sukhvadi Party”. He requested the Samajwadi Party chief not to describe socialist ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia as his (Mulayam Singh Yadav’s) political mentor.
“(We) saw how the Samajwadi leaders were busy enjoying dance and music when little children were dying in the Muzaffarnagar relief camps…” Without taking his name, Modi took on External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who recently described the BJP veteran as “politically impotent”.
Alluding to Khurshid (“a minister who travels around the world”), Modi said the minister swindled money from funds meant for the disabled.
He did not spare central minister Beni Prasad Verma either, and blamed central Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal for the coal blocks allocation row.
As Modi fired volleys at Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders, the crowds roared in approval. Referring to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s emphasis on development in speeches, the BJP leader said: “I am happy he has given up his casteist politics and has been forced by me to talk about development.”
Taking recourse to poetry on two occasions, Modi said he was reminded of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha. He accused BJP’s critics of using Muslims as “vote banks” and said Gujarat’s economic prosperity was shared by all sections of the society. If the BJP was voted to power, people would get their due in five years, Modi said.