Samajwadi Party, which has decided not to enter the fray in Amethi and Rae Bareli, on Tuesday disapproved of BJP fielding “outsiders” from the Nehru-Gandhi pocket borough, saying such a practice was against democracy.

“Fielding candidates in such a way is against democracy as they do not have much to do with local people..,” Samajwadi Party leader and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav told reporters here while replying to a question on BJP candidates announced from Amethi and Rae Bareli.

BJP last night declared actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani and Supreme Court lawyer Ajay Aggarwal as its candidates from Amethi and Rae Bareli respectively.

Mr. Yadav said his party leadership has decided not to field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli and added that SP had not fielded candidates against them in previous elections as well.

Hitting back at BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his dig that it would be difficult to control “Gujarat Lions” in UP, Mr. Yadav said such statements were not required from BJP’s prime ministerial candidate as the felines had been given to the state in exchange of hyenas to Gujarat.

“The lions are presently at the Lucknow Zoo and will be kept at a Lion Safari spread across 3000 acres in Etawah. Work is going on there and it will be completed soon. There were some problems due to ongoing elections,” he said.

“It’s a political courtesy, he (Modi) has given us something and we have also given him something (hyenas) in exchange (to Gujarat),” he added.

In a lighter vein, Mr. Yadav added that during his recent visit to Lucknow Zoo the lions had greeted him twice by “welcoming him” during his entry and “thanking him for bringing them here” as he was leaving.

“As we are not aware of the language of lions, forest officers who used to take care of them told me that they roared to welcome me when I came and then again while I was leaving to thank me,” Mr. Yadav said.

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