New Delhi: Predicting the BJP’s victory in the ongoing Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attacked the Samajwadi Party and the Congress for being “sympathetic to terrorists”, referring to the 2008 Ahmedabad bomb blasts and the Batla House encounter, and without naming SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, said the seat they (SP) were considering the safest “is also getting out of their hands”.
Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav made his debut in the Assembly polls by contesting from Karhal, a SP stronghold, which went to the polls on Sunday in the third phase. Urging voters at Hardoi and Unnao, where the PM addressed public rallies, to vote for “double-engine government”, Mr Modi alleged criminals had full “protection from the government of the ‘Parivarwadis’.”
The PM claimed the “parivarwadis”, who are losing the polls by a huge margin, will try to spread poison in the name of caste but UP must remember that “UP’s development is India’s development”.
Targeting rival parties, the PM recalled the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts and said some parties were “sympathetic to such terrorists” and accused the erstwhile SP government of seeking withdrawal of cases against those involved in terror attacks in the state. Mr Modi said that when the Ahmedabad serial blasts took place, he was Gujarat’s chief minister and had taken a pledge the terrorists would be punished no matter where they hide.
Addressing a BJP rally in Hardoi, Mr Modi said the people have seen how the Samajwadi Party, when in government, gave a free hand to those using “katta” (country-made pistols) and its cadres. He also cited the serial bomb blasts in Kashi and the terrorist attacks in Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Ayodhya to claim that while terrorists were creating havoc, the then SP government was not even allowing these terrorists to be prosecuted.
“The people of Hardoi have seen those days when these people had given a free hand to those using ‘katta’ and those in ‘satta’ (power)," he said as he recalled the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts which had claimed 56 lives and left over 200 injured. On February 18, a special court in Ahmedabad in Gujarat had sentenced to death 38 members of the Indian Mujahideen terror outfit in the serial blasts case. The court also sentenced 11 other convicts to life imprisonment.
Attacking the BJP’s opponents over the politics of appeasement, the PM said: “Those who used to stop our festivals owing to their politics of appeasement… they will get an answer from the people of Uttar Pradesh on March 10.”
Mr Modi claimed that it was only after the “double engine” government was formed in 2017 that the state saw its government working for the poor, who benefited from the housing for the poor, toilets for all, gas cylinders for women and various other health schemes. He said during the global Covid-19 pandemic, the BJP government made sure that no poor people went to bed hungry as free rations were being given to every poor person through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
Claiming that the SP chief, who was contesting from the “safe seat”, was unlikely to win, Mr Modi said the father (SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav), who was pushed aside (by Akhilesh) to grab the party’s reins, was now being asked (by the SP chief) to seek votes for himself.
“When the CM candidate himself is not safe, one can imagine what the situation is,” said the PM.