Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday blamed non-BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh for the state’s lack of progress, saying the “vanvaas” or exile of development must end and his party would ensure that if voted to power.
The BJP has been out of power in the country’s political bellwether state since March 2002, while the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have ruled Uttar Pradesh — almost alternately — for the past 15 years.
“Vanvaas of vikas in Uttar Pradesh must end now. Country is moving ahead at a fast pace and so must Uttar Pradesh,” said Modi, addressing a rally in Fatehpur that goes to the polls on February 23.
The BJP is making a hard push to unseat the SP and regain power in UP, where it won 71 or the 80 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Modi is leading the party’s campaign.
He said the SP was inconsiderate towards law and order, and the overall development of the state.
“I urge people to elect a government that would ensure safety of all,” the PM said.
He took a jibe at the SP-Congress alliance, dubbing it as a pact between two sinking ships.
“Both (SP and Congress) were sinking so they thought of holding each other’s hands in order to save themselves,” he said.
Modi laced his speech with trademark barbs to bear down on his rivals. He referred to the Rahul Gandhi-Akhilesh Yadav first joint road show in Lucknow when the Congress leader atop the campaign bus was seen bending to dodge dangling overhead power cables.
“Akhilesh knew they were mere wires dangling low and have no electricity running in them but his alliance partner was scared,” he said, trying to make the point about the state’s inconsistent power supply.
“I saw him on TV today; the strength in his voice was missing, shoulders were drooping and he seemed lost, looking for words,” he said and questioned, “Where has the confidence gone?”
He, however, reserved his remarks on the BSP and its president Mayawati.
The Prime Minister promised that a BJP government would bring a wave of development to Uttar Pradesh, and vowed to waive off farmers’ loans as soon as his party came to power.
He also brought a bit of Hindutva, an issue close to the BJP’s heart, in his speech, accusing the SP government of being biased on religious lines.
“If you create a kabristaan (graveyard) in a village, then a shamshaan (cremation ground) should be created too; if electricity is supplied uninterrupted during Ramzan, then the same should be the case during Diwali. Bhedbhaav nahin hona chahiye (There should be no discrimination),” he said.