As campaigning in the Lok Sabha bye-election in this communally sensitive constituency picks up, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav’s hands were stained with the blood of victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots. “The SP chief doesn’t have the courage to come here and campaign. His hands are stained with the blood of Muzaffarnagar riot victims,” he said in a meeting at Ambheta in Saharanpur district yesterday. The chief minister’s reference was to the Hindu-Muslim riots in adjoining Muzaffarnagar district in 2013, when several Muslim families fled their homes.
In 2016, there was communal tension in Shamli district’s Kairana block with allegations that the threatened Hindus were leaving their homes. Attacking the SP government, which was in power then, Adityanath said, “During the previous government, there were no jobs for the youngsters and only a specific community got jobs.” “We have adopted the practice of taking people from every caste and religion along with us,” he said. The May-28 polls are being held to fill the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, spread over Saharanpur and Shamli districts, which fell vacant after the death of BJP’s Hukum Singh.
His daughter Mriganka Singh is now the BJP candidate, pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan who is backed by the opposition, including Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. The opposition hopes to repeat the shock defeat its joint candidates delivered to the BJP recently in the bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Attacking the opposition, Adityanath said, “During elections they get united, because they have nothing to do with development and good governance.” “All of them are talking about getting united, but the unity is not visible. The SP president is yet to be seen here, as people will question him about Muzaffarnagar riots if he comes here,” he said. “Today, it is not the traders, farmers or youngsters who are undertaking an exodus. It is the criminals who are doing so or the SP is doing so,” he said.
The chief minister said the state, which had earlier earned disrepute due to casteism and family politics, now has an agenda revolving around farmers, traders and the youth. “The BJP will not allow any injustice to happen to the farmers. A victory for the BJP means a victory for prosperity and development,” he said.
Also out campaigning today, UP minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said a BJP win in Kairana, will avenge the loss of Gorakhpur and Phulpur. “The revenge for the party’s defeat in the bye-elections held in Gorakhpur and Phulpur will come from Kairana. This is no ordinary election,” Chaudhary said at a meeting in Shamli’s Bhaiswal village. “The entire reputation of western UP is at stake, and it is a curtain-raiser for the 2019 Lok Saba polls,” he added.
He said Mriganka Singh’s victory will be a true tribute to her father who had worked hard to ensure reservation for the Jats. “A farmer wants a leader who is honest and is of good character. These were the qualities of Chaudhary Charan Singh. And today, both these qualities can be seen in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath,” he said.
During the meeting, a farmer sought the minister’s comment on the delay in paying farmers who had sold sugarcane to the mills. The minister said the dues accumulated from the time of the past governments had been paid out, and the rest will be settled soon.