BSP supremo and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday took a dig at BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi over Gujarat riots and said if such a person is voted to power “the whole nation will witness riots”.

Addressing an election rally in Lakhimpur Kheri, Ms. Mayawati cautioned the people against electing Mr. Modi.

“BJP has announced Modi as its prime ministerial nominee in whose regime in 2002 Gujarat witnessed the country’s worst ever riots in Godhra... If such a person is voted to power at the Centre, the whole nation will witness riots,” she said.

Attacking her arch-rival Samajwadi Party, she said the “rule of law has vanished” in Uttar Pradesh since the party came to power in the state and only “goondas” and “mafias” are ruling the roost.

“Murder, theft, dacoity, rape and riots have become the order of the day,” she said.

Criticising the SP government for riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, Ms. Mayawati said, “These riots have in particular damaged the Muslim community a lot.”

In her 45-minute speech at the local government college sports ground, the BSP supremo gave a clarion call to the Muslim community “not to get divided”. “To prevent BJP from reaching the Centre, the Muslim community must ensure that their unified support is for BSP and any division among them would only benefit the BJP,” she said.

Ms. Mayawati blamed the Congress in particular and other parties including BJP in general for the neglect of UP, the minorities, OBC and the Dalit community.

“Even BJP during its six years’ regime did nothing to improve the fate of the country, as well as that of the poor and the weaker sections,” she said and appealed to the people to vote for her party’s candidates — Arvind Giri in Kheri and Daud Ahmad in Dhaurehra.