The Samajwadi Party president took on the Congress as well, saying both the major parties were detrimental for the country’s prosperity

In a stinging attack on BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh on Sundayy alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to hoodwink Muslims by talking of apology after “having allowed their carnage” in 2002 and dismissed as “baseless propaganda” Gujarat Chief Minister’s development claims.

Hitting back at Mr. Modi for his taunt that Mulayam could not make Uttar Pradesh as prosperous as Gujarat as the feat required “a 56-inch-chest”, Mr. Singh raked the 2002 riots issue at a rally in the city where UP Minister Azam Khan asked Muslims to defeat “the mass murderer who had called you a puppy ”, a reference to the remarks made by the BJP prime ministerial candidate in an interview last year.

“I would like to remind him that I had demonstrated my strength when I visited Gujarat in the aftermath of the brutal massacre of Muslims. I went there and met and consoled victims of the horrible communal riots notwithstanding Modi’s threat that his administration would not be responsible if I was attacked by mobs,” he said as Mr. Modi addressed a parallel rally in Lucknow.

Describing Muslims as “a brave, sensible and trustworthy community”, Mr. Singh charged BJP with “hoodwinking” the minority community by “sounding apologetic after having allowed their carnage” — an obvious reference to the recent statement of BJP chief Rajnath Singh.

Firebrand party leader and cabinet minister Azam Khan also came down heavily on both Congress and BJP, holding the former responsible for Partition which “drove a wedge between Hindus and Muslims“.

Mr. Khan said Muslims “ought to defeat the mass murderer who had called you a puppy and is now seeking your votes, realising that you may not be kings but without your blessings nobody could ever become a king either.”

Debunks Gujarat's developmental model

The SP chief also termed as “baseless propaganda” the development claims of Modi during his over a decade-long tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Mr. SIngh quoted a number of sources to claim that “more than 30 per cent of women and 50 per cent of children are malnourished in Gujarat“.

“Rivers of the state are among the most polluted. Daily wages given to those working in the unorganised sector are lower than that in UP. You (Modi) call this good governance and development? I call it nothing but baseless propaganda,” Mr. SIngfh said.